By Shelley Wildgen
Charmed lives. You know them. They belong to those happy people who seem to have everything wrapped up as snug as a softball in a catcher’s mitt. They’re usually super nice people too, so it’s not really right to envy them. We just admire their worlds that are filled with family adoration, fulfilling jobs and ready smiles. I could name about three off the top of my head, but I wouldn’t want to embarrass them. Did I mention their humility? No kudos for them, just a quiet satisfaction as they tumble freely through their marshmallow-lined lives. So, that’s how it looks, but when you’ve spun around the sun enough times you start to realize that it’s really no happy accident that puts some people on the sunny side of life. It starts to look like they just pay close attention and then figure out the rhythm of life.
This past summer, visiting friends were discussing their lives and choices. They said it all comes down to doors number one through four. Each door has a plan behind it and you have to work with whichever one you choose. Pro-active optimism for sure, but with a hint of those old adages, ‘lemons to lemonade’, ‘when one door closes, a window opens’. Doors, windows, paths. Maybe they really do hold up, and not just as testimonial plants at an inspirational life coach rally.
Is it possible there is evidence of their popping into your own life when you, perhaps, weren’t looking? That job you worked really hard to get and then got it. Did it follow a really bad job? Maybe even a bad job you were released from?
It happens. Like a wind-driven propeller. Difficult circumstances sometimes make us prove ourselves and try even harder. An eternity ago I had a clerk/typist job at an insurance company in Winnipeg. No one liked me. I was a very slow clerk and even slower typist which may have contributed to my unpopularity. That and my unrelenting bragging about my previous radio station job in Ontario. Was the universe listening or was I just motivated to get away? Whatever the reason, when I saw that door starting to close, I turned my attention to the window and after five tortuous interviews I landed my dream copywriting job at a Winnipeg radio/TV station. My co-clerk/typists didn’t believe that I could possibly be qualified to write and voice commercials but they were wrong. Without so much as a backward glance I jumped through that window before anyone could say ‘seven words per minute’!
Now, I’m not saying I have a charmed life, that’s for sure, but I am starting to recognize charmed moments and I believe they are no accident. Lemons come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes it’s hard to recognize any upcoming transformation but virtually all can be stuffed into the squeezer. Case in point, when a sudden demise befell my cherished dachshund, Casey. Without going into detail, suffice to say he met his end in the Trent River and for a while I thought I didn’t deserve to be a dog mama. Then I met ‘her’. She’s a woe-begotten Shih Tzu type deal, named Pip, and she quite literally fell into my lap from the arms of my young friend, Hannah.
No, Pip doesn’t make losing Casey okay but there’s no denying she is a life-enhancer extraordinaire that arrived by way of staggering grief. When you’re folded into despondency it can be hard to stretch your neck out to see what’s ahead, but rainbows are lurking.
So, enough of my little, slice-of-life anecdotes. Let’s take this to world politics. Do I dare mention the ‘T’ word? Well, the pendulum never swings harder than it does in the White House but let’s not take on the ‘T’ word just yet. We can find the whole lost and found push closer to home. Locally, just as hard right provincial politicians were cutting social programs and making the news, LGBTQ+ communities rose up to celebrate the freedom to be themselves and our own Quinte Arts Council hosted its very first annual Everyone Under the Rainbow show — featuring works that reflected, respected, and spoke to the modern LGBTQ+ community. Whomp! Pendulum swinging at its finest.
Now let’s touch on the ‘T’ word for just one New York minute. On the world stage, in 2016, the United States loss of a dignified U.S. president in favour of his polar opposite may have shaken many to their core, but it also shook up North American complacency. So much so that a resistance formed and new, amazing, fresh, ideas have made their way to centre stage. Last year, the socially conscious, former barista, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took a seat in congress; this year, 37 year-old, small town mayor Pete Buttigieg is progressively pushing past a veritable herd of Democrat candidates while very effectively running for president. Will they make it? Right away? Who knows? Eventually, yes, because that’s how the universe works.
Lemons to lemonade, door/window … however you frame it, the results bear out. Little lives and big organizations all benefit from that same rhythm.
And, how about that A&W Beyond Meat burger that is getting raves from carnivores and vegans alike, as non-meat eaters become more vocal than ever before? Wait, that doesn’t quite fit in the same tidy negative to positive box, as it’s really just brilliant marketing … but it is good and I am hungry.