Everything's Coming Up Rosen

Emily’s been writing a column, essays, travel stories, profiles, features for over 20 years. Her work is available for syndication and reprint.

ANOTHER BIRTHDAY — OMG, SO MANY!

April 5, 2018

Well, I am having another birthday this month. It‘s a biggie plus one —  not a big deal. But here’s the thing:  After all these years, I’ve learned so much – not only  about living, but living well.  And now,  I would like to start all over again. 

But would I ???

Mistakes, I have made, of course. Who hasn’t!!  But that’s part of the mix. And “starting all over,” with the aim of perfection is destined to become  a life without pain or challenge,  kind of Barbie and Ken life. I’m not into boring.

So what’s my secret and what have I learned?  My secret is not a secret. I have been blessed with just plain luck – and the willingness to acknowledge that fact.  I was born to two loving parents in the USA, a minute before the great depression at a time when unimagined evil was brewing in Europe. I didn’t know we were poor because all the people we knew were enduring the same economic struggle. We weren’t poverty-poor, just walk-instead-of-paying-for-a-bus poor.

And I was blessed with many genetic assets none of which came to me as a result of  any struggle or effort on my part: Most important: Good Health for which I do take some slight responsibility in the sense that I adhere to the rules, in full recognition that some others who also adhere to the rules are just not as lucky.  I have an even, calm temperament. It comes without effort.  I am not even sure that I own a temper.  I don’t crave  sweets,  alcohol, or caffeine, and the one time I inhaled a cigarette at aged 16, I choked with such fury that I swore I would never do it again, which inhibits my ability to get any of the oft-touted results of weed. By some standards, this could make me a bore. Luckily  (again)  I was born a good listener and most people need to feel heard. “Feeling heard,”  trumps being bored.

And although I never knew it until someone pointed it out to me, my personal life philosophy is in direct compliance  with the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” 

My own version of this is layered on the concept of expectations.

And this is the most important “thing”  I have learned in all my many years. I am easily able to recognize the difference between REASONABLE expectations, as in: it is REASONABLE  to expect my  friend to check her email messages at least every few days, if not more often. She always promises to do so, but often it takes weeks–  and REALISTIC  expectations, as in – she simply will not check her messages frequently;   to recognize that it is REASONABLE  to expect your husband to join you at a family event, but in some cases, the REALITY is that he believes he has reasons for refusing.

 I have learned  to train myself to expect only what’s realistic — which eliminates  a whole range of toxic emotions: disappointment, hurt, anger, rage, –and down the line from there. Sounds simple but too many people cannot distinguish the difference between REASONABLE AND REALISTIC especially in their personal relationships. It’s worth working on.

          Actually, I learned a lot more, so far, in this lifetime.  For instance: I learned how to make a really good quiche today—my first. Every day I learn something new.   Life is good.