Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Liz is a genius

Liz helped me to put things in perspective today. I'm looking at situations around me and getting extremely frustrated about them. Liz threw out something very philosophical at me:

She said life is a poker game. I was raised that if I get a crappy hand, I keep playing. I throw out the crappy cards and keep playing. I'll bluff my way through and make people think I've got an awesome hand. I'm surrounded by others who get a crappy hand, accept it and fold. They don't even try to keep on playing, and that's they way they were raised.

It's a very wise assessment. We all are a product of our raising and some examples drive this home:

My dad was dealt some bitter hands. He quit drinking when he and my mom split. He quit smoking and started working out daily when the doctor told him he was at risk of having a fatal heart attack. He kept working (and working out) when he was going through radiation for thyroid cancer, and only was out of work for the hospital stay. He'd arranged for his days off to be the days he drove into Manhattan for radiation treatments.

Two years later, he did much the same when his voice box was removed. Life went on with minor modifications-he still took us to the beach every Sunday that summer, and wrapped a towel around his neck to protect the 150 stitch scar from the sun, because he sure as heck wasn't going to fold on one of his favorite summer pasttimes.

My mom was made of the same stuff. Polio should have left her crippled, but she fought that hand by walking the sand of Jones Beach daily to build the strength back in her legs when she was 9 years old. She was abandoned with six kids by her first husband, but she kept going. Folding meant losing her family. When she and my dad split, she worked two jobs to keep the house she'd worked so hard to buy. She even fought death, hanging on when the doctors said that by all rights, she should have been gone. She took the cards and made the best hand she could with what she had.

This is the stock I come from. I'm not sitting and wallowing with all the things wrong with my health. Yeah, I complain, but I keep going. I have yet to call in sick for the leg problems-a migraine, yes, the leg, no. Same goes for the job situations-if I'm unhappy, I do something about it. I've spent time working temp jobs while seeing a permanent job. It's not in my nature to just accept what's dealt to me. Call it PMA, call it resilience,whatever your term for it is-it's not accepting the deal you got.

Most of my friends are the same way. Hip problems? Weight watchers and Curves are staving off the inevitable hip surgery(you'd never know that the cutie needs a new hip). Morbidly obese? Gastric bypass surgery (the after pictures are amazing, btw). I could go on and on, but you all know what type of people you are. Do you fold? Or do you play on?

That's probably why I have such a hard time with what goes on elsewhere in my life. I don't accept the cards dealt, and grow increasingly frustrated when I see others folding when they can challenge what's in their hands. I equated it to a lack of personal resolve, because life doesn't have to be the way they're allowing it to be. Liz's explanation is that these people just accept the hand they're dealt. It's the way they were raised.

Those diametrically opposed lifestyles can't coexist peacefully. I'm going to piss someone or several someones off (and already have, in one case), but you know what? I'm going to go down with cards in my hand-not by giving up at the first bad deal.

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