Monday, January 19, 2009

Musings about Smiling


Such an easy thing to do, and so many people don’t even think about it, or the meaning that is put into it.

Would it be surprising to say that the job I probably enjoyed the most throughout my short yet job-filled life was the one in which I smiled at people the most? I spent 8 hours of my day leaning out of a window, passing out coffee, soup, donuts, and smiles. And for every smile I passed out, I would get a smile in return. And you know, despite that I started those smiles at six in the morning on most days, I never felt more at home in a job then when I was making others smile, and brightening their day a tiny bit. I was, after all, handing to them, through a car window, the sustenance that woke them up each morning.

And the reason I was really in no mood to leave that job? I was enjoying myself. For the most part, I loved my coworkers. I still go back to visit some of them every few months when I’m in town. And most of the customers rocked. Sure there were your average pervs, assholes, and grumpy jerktrouts, but all in all, I got a smile out of each and every person when I smiled and said good morning.

A few months ago I had to drag my butt down to a shipping company to pick up a package from “ThinkGeek”, and once there had to deal with the front desk clerk. Certainly not a problem. Of course, the entire time I talked to him, I was smiling. As I was leaving the building, he told me to never lose my smile. Well, I promptly went home, and bawled my eyes out because of an entirely different reason, but we all have our moments when we feel like we have nothing to live for. Thankfully, those are few and far between for me. I can always find a reason to smile.

People need to smile more. There is not enough smiling in this day and age. Everyone complains about this, and that, and their mother-in-law. If people spent half the time they took to complain, and used that time to think happier thoughts, we’d all be a little less cranky in the morning, and we would be less likely to quip rude remarks at each other.

It’s one thing to use sarcasm. It’s another to roll your eyes at someone, and flip them the bird.

Why can’t we all just stop and be thankful for being alive, for being able to do the things we do, for being a unique individual? If we stopped taking everything for granted, we’d all realize that each and every one of us has a reason to smile.

I don’t care if your heart is breaking. And I don’t care if you’ve lost all your money. And I really don’t care if you’ve lost your job, you can’t go see the concert you want to see, your best friend moved away, you’ve broken your TV, the bus drivers are on strike, or you’ve spent all your money gambling.

Stop it.

Just… stop.

Stop. Pause. Stand still. Look around. Breathe. Blink. Touch. Feel.


Forget everything that is bringing you down. You are, to a point, in control of what you feel. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop being angry at the world. Stop blaming yourself, others, the world on your misfortune. That’s the thing, really. You’re too busy putting blame on people for why you aren’t happy. I blame you. I blame me. I blame that thing called God. I blame you for not looking at the good things in life. I blame me for not trying to make you see the good things in life. I blame God for creating you in a fashion that it makes it so damn hard for you to see the good things in life.

But you know what? I also blame no one.

It is up to you to take those steps to being happy. Stop drowning in your sorrow. I know how it feels. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I hated it, and never want to be in that situation again. However, I know I will be. We all have to make brave first steps, and sometimes going out on a limb will cause us to fall back down to the ground. And it hurts. But once we’ve known that we can hurt, and feel better afterward, it makes the healing process a little bit easier.

I know this pain will soon end. So instead of wallowing in it, think of the better things in life. How does that song go?

“I’ve got a smile on my face, and I’ve got four walls around me.”

Not a day goes by that I don’t step out into the Ottawa air, look around me, and be thankful that I am where I am now. I would not change a thing. In time, I know I shall move on. But for now, I am just thankful I am alive, and that nature is alive all around me.

Once you are able to be thankful for the things that really matter in life, it is then that you will learn just how important smiling is.

And that with a smile you can change a world – even if it is just your world.

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