I was served a plate of perspective today.
Fr. P: “So, how is the team, Mike?”
Me: “Its okay. I mean, nothing has changed but I’m good – I’m good.”
Fr. P: “Yeah? Well, that’s good, I suppose.”
Me: “Yep – I’m working on being positive and joyful. But between 12 and 3 each day is just a bitch.”
Fr. P: “Yeah, Christ wasn’t a big 12 to 3 fan either.”
Oh, yeah. I can’t utter another sentence about how unfair life is. Until they begin nailing me to a tree during training sessions – which is more plausible than you might think – I’m going to grin. A professor of mine claims that smiling even when you are miserable will force you into a good mood. Her reasoning is that your brain associates certain muscle movements with certain emotions. So when you contort into a smile, albeit forced, you are essentially cueing your brain into releasing happy juice.
So I tried force smiling at 11:45. At 11:46 I felt more confused than happy or sad so I guess that’s an improvement. I kind of see the light that has come from these first two months now. In truth, what I’ve experienced while playing for Mason will probably not make me a better soccer player. If this experience does make me better, it is purely secondary. Instead, it has taught me how to be joyful – truly joyful when things suck.
After five or six weeks of complaining and wallowing to others, those others are just outright tired of hearing it. So I was left with a choice. I could continue on the pessimistic slant, or pretend to be happy. I much prefer being around people, happy people, even if I’m miserable. So I faked happiness. And believe it or not, and you should believe it, I slowly began finding joy in the pain.
Okay, so I don’t enjoy pain. I’m not advocating self-mutilation or any form of maiming. But pain has given me the opportunity to develop other dimensions of my person. There is a portion of my life, however big or small, that I’m not satisfied with. That’s new for me.
I’ve had to figure out how to handle that part of my life. How to improve. How to ask for help. How to ask for help, use that help, and then have to ask for MORE help. And then ask for more help. I’ve always prided myself in my ability to self sustain and cope with things. And now I am learning how to ask for help. Because let’s face it; my 12 to 3 isn’t that bad.