A Gift

I’ve been given a gift for over thirty-five years but I only just realized it this past weekend.

Times are tough for many people. There are a load of sad songs being sung and I’d venture to bet that almost anyone could tell you a sob story about personal hardship they’ve experienced this past year alone. Life is far from perfect. And unfortunately, justice isn’t always part of the equation. But some people actually have it incredibly hard, like those in any holocaust or soldiers in battle, while most others only think they do.

Several months ago, a friend of mine told me that I don’t let people just feel bad about things. I always have to try to find the silver lining, she said. And I was thinking, “Why are you saying that like it’s a bad thing?” She was, saying it like she wished I was otherwise.

And then a few days ago, a friend of mine was feeling sorry for himself. Yes, he’s going through a very tough time, and it sucks, but I couldn’t listen to it. I mean, he’s not being put to death in a gas chamber or anything. Yeah, he might have to do a ton of hard work, and probably a lot of it isn’t going to make him thrilled, but I think unless you’re one of those who gets everything handed to them on a silver platter, and life is always fair to you, my advice is get off your ass and do something about which you’re complaining. And I mean truly do something, 100% percent, from dawn to dusk.

After I ranted, I realized how fortunate I’ve been because of a gift my parents bestowed upon me all the years of my life. It’s not a gift money could buy. Or a gift one could wrap with paper and a nice bow. It’s a gift one has to see demonstrated before their very own eyes. It’s a gift one has to learn.

It’s the gift of understanding how to accept one’s life as their own and be responsible for it.

This doesn’t mean life is fair by the way. It isn’t. Some are born into riches, others into poverty. But this gift can be applied to either situation.

I choose to look for the silver linings in life. I choose to see the glass as being half full. I choose to believe positive energy begets the same because as Camus once said, “Life is a sum of all your choices.”


To try

Have you ever heard of this idea or question or whatever you call it, that goes something like this:

Try to pick up that pencil. Either you do or you don’t. There is no try.

Well, it’s always stayed with me. I think I heard it in a film but I can’t be entirely sure of that. Regardless, I have been one who has thought trying wasn’t good enough. Either you do or you don’t. But what if trying is the doing? What then?

I’m a filmmaker (for those who don’t know) and I’m greatly trying to get my films out there. It’s been a hard road and sometimes, I get a bit down when I don’t reach the heights I set for each of my films or my career as a whole for that matter. There have been wonderful moments, like playing at a festival and then having someone from the audience come up to me to talk about my film, but there’s also been really sad moments, such as recently, when my latest film gets one rejection after the next. So sometimes, I struggle with keeping my positivity in check.

But I try.

I try to keep the faith. I try to stay on track. I try to keep moving forward. I try to get my life to a place I want it to be. I try to find someone to share it with. I try to see reality. I try to be honest. I try to love. I try to treat others with respect. I try to be creative in all that I do. I try to understand everything I can. I try to be conscious. I try to make my one opportunity at life be everything I want it to be.

I try. But sometimes, I don’t succeed.

And with this trying, comes some depression, hardship, anxiety, reality battling my dreams, dealing with the truth, deciding what I will accept or not accept from others, figuring out if there’s someone out there I could love and could love me back…

But still, I try. And I will try for as long as I can breathe.

In a beautifully written moment in my favorite new show BOARDWALK EMPIRE, the main character says to the woman he’s with after she starts to realize he has a dark side, “We all have to decide for ourselves how much sin we can deal with.” Wow. Poignant. But maybe it’s applicable here also. Perhaps we all just have to figure out what we’re willing to try and not.

Sure, you may be able to pick up a pencil. That’s easy. But some things, like going after your dream job or finding your true love, aren’t so easy. So you have to try. And you might not succeed but maybe, just maybe, the trying is enough.

I don’t know, but at least I’m trying to figure it out…