05 January 2011

turn it around

Today I was contemplating not writing, and as it seems now I won’t be able to post as scheduled because the website is down. Just one more thing to make this day worse.
First, I have a cold. It’s awful. I knew I said I wouldn’t complain but that horrible feeling of defeat has come over me. And our kitty is still sick so after a vapid day at school I didn’t get to come home and cuddle with a warm, purring kitty. He has the flu and a fever. I guess we’re both not having a great time.
Today really was not that awful of a day, I mean I didn’t spill some toxic gas in my eye and have to be rushed to the ER before my eyeball turned into vapor, and I didn’t almost get run over by a moving van, but it was just the minor-scratch-in-the-marble-sculpture sort of day. That’s my metaphor for my life. At least my school life. It’s like a marble sculpture. Completely perfect. And bad grades ruin that sculpture. And evidently my day.
But what’s worse than finding out you did a lot worse on your essay than you though you did and having your teacher tell you that you misinterpreted the assignment is having your teacher make copies of some great essays and reading them out loud. Except these aren’t just 2 essays. These are the essays authored by Annoyingly-Obsessively-Perfect-Student-Number-1 and her sidekick Annoyingly-Obsessively-Perfect-Student-Number-2. And here he goes reading them out loud and interjecting a few “well isn’t this a well written piece” and “this is very well constructed”, and the worst of all, “this is what you should model your essay after”. After almost puking on the floor with jealously, the bell thankfully rung, ending the misery – for now.
A few hours later I realized, in yearbook class, that I still had to contact a parent about a senior ad. I signed up for this section after hearing how easy it was. It’s rough. Completely not easy. And I forgot about this ad over winter break, and now it’s a burden just sitting there like a summer reading book assignment.
To top it all off, I didn’t get an A on my French final, and I almost lost it. French is like, my thing. It’s what I do. And I didn’t come out on top. Poop.
So all day I pretty much wallowed in self-pity and felt like I was the victim of society. I still feel that school is much to grade-oriented, and that grades are the only motivation in school. I mean, would high schoolers really spend their weekend studying American history or physics if they didn’t have to do well in the class or on the AP test? Public schools are much too focused on passing you off, testing you, analyzing you, compartmentalizing things, giving out credit, and completely discouraging free thinking, creative and unconventional ways of doing things, and enthusiasm in learning. I really question what the purpose of public school is sometimes. Is it about learning or is it just a means to an end?
This got me thinking that there are a lot of problems in the world. Each household has its own problems. So does each neighborhood. Each country. Each social class. Each age group. Each person. Poverty, hunger, disease, animal abuse, inhumane actions, war, poor economies, bad working conditions, bad food, dirty water, injustice, prejudice. The list goes on.
I was thinking about the schools. But then I think that some people don’t have schools, and they have to work on farms or factories instead. And then I wondered if the working conditions in the factory were bad. And I got really discouraged.
But I realized that there are and always will be an infinite amount of problems in the world. And we can never rectify all of them. We have to learn to accept that there may not always be peace and that we cannot save the world from every problem. I know I wish I could. I would if I could. Getting caught up in things we can’t necessarily control can interfere with our ability to deal with things we can control. And it can prevent us from achieving a healthy state of mind.
I digress.
Now that I’ve finished my political banter, I’ll come back to the real world and get back on topic.
So then I came home and moped and grouched and made everyone feel sad and depressed. To tell you the truth it was not a very wonderful day. But there was something that turned my attitude around. And as I write this post, now calm and composed, I feel much better having done this.
I recently made a calendar, as you know, because I dedicated a whole post to it, and because of what happened that day that calendar is very special to me. Anyway, I decided to write in all of my friends and relatives birthdays on the calendar. Then I had a great idea – why not send little birthday cards to all of these people on their birthdays? I mean, we always do, but all I ever do is write “Love Megan” and scribble a little heart that looks like two intersecting spears. So I thought I could hand make cards and send them to people when their birthdays come around. And I’d write a little heartfelt message, a personal message, to each person. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Hallmark $.99 are great, but one that you took your time to make really hits home. So I looked through my menagerie of photos and picked some that would make good cards. I then changed my mind and decided to make them into birthday postcards to save paper (I’m one of those save paper, recycle, solar energy, global-warming-is-the-end-of-humanity freaks).
I felt like such a great person when I wrote the messages to each person on my list, but mostly because I was imagining how they would react when they received their little postcard from someone that they don’t talk to very often. I would be just so overjoyed if someone did that for me. So I know it would make someone else happy.
Diverting my attention from my problems and focusing my attention on something that was not about me let me forget about myself and focus on something for someone else. All I did all day was think about how awful everything was. And while today was not the best day ever (it was actually one of the first to be eliminated in the Best Day Ever contest), focusing on someone else even in a rough time can help give yourself purpose and enrich your life. My gesture was small. But I know it will be appreciated.
So the next time you feel down on your luck, try thinking of helping someone close to you, writing a long lost friend, or sending relatives baked goods. Thinking about me all the time can get pretty boring, and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy to do something good for someone else.

1 comment:

  1. I guess everyone has days like that~ too bad it had to be your 1st day of 2nd semester....good to "turn it around" though~ makes everyone happy in the end. My day was the opposite of yours~ good in the 1st half and not so great at all the 2nd half.
    love,mom xoxo