There was a time, not very long ago, when I would go into the bathroom, step into the shower stall - fully clothed - slide down the wall until I was sitting, and I would cry. Not just your garden variety, oh-I-feel-sad kind of crying, but that deep, gut wrenching, oh-my-god-I-don't-want-to-die kind of crying. I buried my face against a crumpled up towel so that no one would hear - even when I was alone - and I wailed.

I was feeling sorry for myself. I don't feel bad now that I was feeling sorry for myself, because there was a purpose to my sorrow. The terror of not knowing.

Then I got the fortune cookie that told me I would live a long and happy life (the sign I prayed for), and I stopped hiding in the bathroom.

It's been almost four months since my surgery, and my outlook on life is vastly different than it was before. For the most part I've let go of the insults of the past. Stupid things people said or did, hurtful things, unintentional wrongs and things I probably considered abusive at the time. I've been much happier these last four months; I have energy, hope, excitement for the future. Everything is out there, just waiting to be discovered.

I remember feeling hum-drum, kind of blase about life, indifferent about the indignations of the past. I just don't care anymore. The past is relatively unimportant, at least in terms of the things I didn't like about it. People did and said stupid things; oh, well. I'm sure I did, too.

Years ago I watched a black belt testing headed by Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee. One of the things he talked about was his philosophy on happiness; he beleives that we're born with everything we need to be happy. We just need to make that choice.

Now, I never thought it was that simple; there are people for whom genuine abuse is a reality; kids who cannot escape it, women who don't now where else to turn. But for the rest of us, I think it probably is that easy. It requires some re-thinking, and focusing on what's truly important, but it's not that difficult.

And no, I don't think it requires a brain tumor to figure it out.

I surf around online a lot, and what I'm seeing is a whole lot of bitching and whining about how bad life is.
I'm bored.
My parents are terrible awful people. They don't understand me.
I can't find a job, I mean, I get out of bed around 4pm and then I throw on some shorts and a t-shirt and go look, but no one will hire me. It's not fair. I shouldn't have to conform to their standards in order to work.
I don't want to go to school. I don't want to work at McDonalds. I don't want...
I want everything to me my way when I want, when I say I want it.

It's like a giant cloud of Woe Me has settled on the internet.

A couple of questions for the Life Sucks crowd:
Do you have a roof over your head?
Reasonably good health?
Friends, even just the online variety?

I've said it before: attitude is everything. You can waste the life that you have, worrying about what you don't have, grousing about the unfairness of growing up and having to be accountable and responsible for yourself, blame other people for your unhappiness... or you can take a deep breath, take a good look at everything you do have in your life, and rethink just how miserable you really are. Don't let it take a brain tumor, or cancer, or any other experience that has you looking at the end of it all in order to discover the joys of being alive. Don't be that grouchy person that even you don't want to hang around.

Go outside, take a deep breath, feel that first tingle of crisp autumn air, and make the decision to do whatever you have to to make yourself happy. It'll be worth it.

Life is good.

written very quickly, after a dose of benedryl; if it makes no sense, it's the benedryl talking

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