Sunday, April 23, 2006

Life is like a Word Search

or, You Find What You Look For

So, I gave up my bad attitude for Lent. And like a chocoholic on Easter Morn decapitating every bunny in sight, I oozed attitude, without even realizing it. This startled me, as I noticed over the following days that I quit censoring myself, "ha ha, I gave up my bad attitude for Lent!" or, "Ah, isn't the 'burgh quirky?" I just let go. "No, I don't like living here." I never said that there aren't good things about this place. It is family friendly, there are lots of cultural and educational places to go and things to do with the kids. The schools are good. There are worse places. That doesn't mean that it is my first, second or third choice. I think it bugs me that this is a problem. How many people get to live one of the top three places their heart desires. Why is it my problem that I would prefer to live elsewhere? Why is it better for me to lie and say, "Why, yes, I love this town and I am so glad that I gave up my perfectly lovely home, friends, life, what have you, to live here." Don't ask if you don't want to know. I don't lie. Sorry.

Anyway, I gave up my bad attitude. I am obviously too sensitive and defensive on this topic. It is a good thing to give up, unlike chocolate, for instance.

My Grandmother that passed away on St.Patrick's Day loved puzzles. Most specificly, word search. She bought them by the case, literally. One of her girlfriends took most of the unused ones, I saved a couple to bring home for Eldest. He is just beginning to read, so they are pretty challenging for him. He does like the number searches, a lot.

I am sitting here during lunch, looking through one of the books. I could not tell you the last time I did a word search, until today. The one that caught my eye had ELECT hidden in it 50 times. I found 46 and am telling myself that I probably forgot to tick off 4 of them. I will turn back to it to see if I can find another 4 later, because that is a good life lesson.

If you are stumped, frustrated, cannot see any more solution. Stop. Take a break and come back with a new perspective. (I need a vacation*, bad.)

So, I flipped to the front of the book. Number one was lame. It was words to do with the Pony Express. Reminds me too much of CA. I moved on to puzzle number two. "A 'ful' plate," words that can be followed by 'ful.' It is a block of letters 14 wide by 14 tall. At first look, it is a mass of nonsense, rows and rows of letters. Suddenly, a word jumps out at me and I examine the list to see if I should circle it. Yep, 'pocket' is indeed on the list. I go on like this for a bit, pick a word and try to find it.
'Glee' didn't want to be found. Double 'e,' how can something so obvious hide? It was backwards. I tried for 'success.' Two double letters were plain as day. 'Cheer' was alluding me. I found several other words before I thought that maybe looking for double 'e' wasn't really the way to find 'Cheer.' Maybe what I thought was obvious about the word wasn't really what made it special and stand out. 'Ch' was easily followed by 'eer.'

Another life lesson. Change the way you are looking at a problem, your expectations of the answer, if you are not finding the solution. Paradigm shift, I think this is called in certain circles. Ah! a pun, get it?

I found 'faith,' I found 'wonder.' 'Scorn,' 'fret,' and 'doubt' all but bit my fingers to be found. 'Youth' was backwards and diagonal to the left.
I wandered around the puzzle looking for something I would recognize. Nothing came. I thought, perhaps I should read the word list through. I had missed most of the words in between the ones that had come easily. 'Truth.' 'Purpose.' 'Grace.' 'Bliss.' They all needed to be found, but I didn't realize they were there.
I didn't realize they were there to be found. When I knew what I was looking for, I could find it.

When I knew what I was looking for, I could find it. Is that a life lesson? Well, I don't know about you, but no one handed out a list of things to find in life when I was in school. But that is just it. I was in school. I had parents, I had the media, I had church, I had books and teachers all trying to tell me what I need to know to find what I am looking for... do dangling participles bother you, too? They all were trying to tell me what to find.

Anyway, without even knowing it, I have always found that for which I looked. No one talks that way, but you know what I mean. If I am looking for a good park, I will look until I find one. Looking for a reason to be ticked off in traffic? Easy. Do I want to be offended by the clerk in the store? Sure, go to the grocery store that I cannot pronounce (see how bad I am?) Looking for a quicker way to get somewhere in Pittsburgh? If you know a way, please tell me, I am still looking.
The key that I am beginning to see, is that I have to be aware of what I am looking for in order to find what I want to find. I don't want to be unhappy, grumpy, irritable, cranky, mean and nasty toned. But what is it that I need to find to be happy... where I am.

Frankly, though you may not know it, I am happy. I have a blessed life. I have a fantastic Mister, gorgeous and healthy kids, a home, food in the pantry, clothes to wear, hobbies to amuse me, you name it and I have the essentials to keep my family safe and warm. I think my problem lies in other peoples expectations, not my own. I am ok with just being ok with living here. I don't have to love it, I don't have to give a whip about the Steelers. I just have to be ok, and I am. Maybe I feel bad because I don't love it while "everyone" else does. I feel bad because I don't have their same expectations. Maybe it is a tough enough struggle just to expect myself to be ok. Can I accept a little 'respect' for that struggle?

I have 'faith.' I pray for 'grace.' My family is my 'purpose.' I tell the 'truth.' I try to use 'tact' and avoid 'scorn' and 'doubt.' I 'watch' with 'wonder' the 'youth' of my boys. I 'respect' my Mister's 'pocket' with 'taste' and 'care.' I am ok.

What a thought provoking puzzle. I am ok, you are ok... someone should write a book.

What if this is all wrong and Life is really like Sudoku? The same thing across, down and in the little box. Constantly repeating the same things but only one at a time and never the same order and it all has to work together. Hmm, a tougher puzzle. I may be on to something here, let me think on it a bit.

*vacation as defined as a getaway that involves no family but the immediate, something fun and relaxing and long enough to feel like we have been away. Like 2 weeks in California, for a random example. I would return from such a trip... yes, I would, don't be so cynical.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nqooh yeah, I believe that you would return. yep! This is coming from the teenager that went to SanFrancisco to visit and NEVER returned isn't it?

I love you and am glad to hear that you do know how lucky you are to be in the position that you are inspite of the location.