Isn’t it funny how some things keep coming back to you throughout your life? I have a good friend who says that life keeps presenting lessons to us until we learn from them; as much as sometimes I wish I wouldn’t remember her words, they are true. Times when you do that silly thing you know you shouldn’t do and here you are again in the same predicament are not the times you want to remember you haven’t learned the right thing yet, don’t you think? There are positive things that come back to me too, though…
One of the positive things is a simple version of how to look at life, much like the idea of whether you see the glass half-empty or half-full. I have always been a fan of Winnie the Pooh and his simple wisdom (some have likened it to Eastern Tao-ism, even!). As a result, I prefer to look at not just a glass but rather a pot of honey or something else more interesting and practical, like Pooh would do. (Not to mention I like Pooh's focus on his tummy.) Conversely, I have often thought that those who seemed to feel a storm cloud followed them were a bit like Pooh’s friend Eeyore the donkey. Poor Eeyore, as he was often known, always seemed to be expecting impending doom, and of course, he was rarely disappointed. He lost his tail, he got broken birthday presents… this guy really had bad luck.
What point am I getting at, you ask? Why all the childhood reminiscing over storybook characters?? Well, I heard about the fellow who wrote “The Last Lecture” and he used the Pooh reference in defining how you should decide to live your life. Randy Pausch was a professor who had terminal cancer and decided to write a book giving his best advice, not on formal education but on how to learn to enjoy life. He said you should decide whether you want to be a Tigger or an Eeyore. (Tigger was even more bouncy and positive than Pooh – more of a North American motivator than Eastern, like a Richard Simmons to Pooh’s Buddha.) And in a more everyday sort of vein, with all the rain we have had and everyone’s gloomy outlook with the gloomy forecast, it made me think of Eeyore and how he did get cheered up. I would like to leave you with my synopsis of why the world worked for the characters in A.E. Milne’s stories…
Theirs was a simple life – Pooh enjoyed a bit of sustenance in a pot of honey, Piglet enjoyed his “haycorns”, Rabbit enjoyed his garden, Owl enjoyed his books, Tigger enjoyed bouncing, Kanga enjoyed taking care of little Roo and all of them enjoyed each other’s company. Even Eeyore was happiest when his friends remembered his birthday. Despite his burst balloon of a perfect size and colour he got a big thrill of putting it in and taking it out of the empty honey pot Pooh gave him. After all, if you have friends to share your time with, then even the storm clouds can seem not so bad.
So, here’s to a week filled with your own sunshine, even if it rains outside! Share a pot of honey, take time to bounce with your friends… and remember to learn the lesson life puts in front of you. (This means if you enjoy it you need to do more of it!)
In closing, with all the graduates out there on the verge of their "Last Lecture" for a while, I invite you to watch that important talk. I attach the video for the full talk which is about an hour long, but it's worth spending every minute.
I wish all the graduates a life full of passion and the attitude to enjoy it to the fullest.