On Life: the twists, the turns & the bumps in the road

My brother and I would listen to this guy’s tale of woe and just laugh hysterically, not at the guy, just at the circumstances he would get himself into and the way he’d try wiggle out of it and just keep getting deeper and deeper into the poop. I’m guessing this guy always liked his ‘hair shirt’ and with some gentle prodding by Bob and I, this fella started to catalog these stories into a book. All it took was changing his point of focus from victim to ‘straight man’ and now he has stories to write ‘til the cows come home.

It’s been said that the opinion of others is what gives you your reputation but your opinion of yourself is what will determine your character, what you do and how you act when nobody’s looking. And the twists, the turns and the bumps in the road that you will encounter over a lifetime and how you react to them will help forge that character. Will you be the kind that shrugs off a bump or a twist, knowing that it’s just part of the journey? Or will you be the kind that whines, whines and whines at the slightest inconvenience because you, in all your infinite wisdom, did not anticipate the smallest thing going wrong? (Oh Lord, just take me now). No wonder most of your time is spent alone. One of the secrets to joy and happiness is to be able to laugh at yourself no matter what your situation or circumstances dictate.   

            However you start out in your life it’s a safe bet that will you get to where you’re going eventually but only after detour after detour or the twists, turns and bumps in the road. And, no, they weren’t put there just for you; sooner or later, everyone has to get through them. This is what provides our journey with its color, this makes our travels unique. Your role and perhaps your destination may change throughout your lifetime but be careful that you never let that diminish your individuality. Learn to build your life around that core that separates you from all others, not your role; otherwise, when your role changes your self-worth goes down the tubes. Don’t allow the changing times or your change in direction to change who you are, to make you stop dreaming or even giving up hope. You must remain resolute. When your role changes, as it inevitably will, remember that your life is not over, this is just another roadblock. This can be added to the list of other things that you had to go over, under, around or through. None of us knows what God will do with the rest of our days before it’s all over with. But more times than not, He has a way of saving the best for last. And the longer that I’m on this earth, the more I can give testament to that fact.

            God created all men equal. After that, you’re on your own, pal [advice from my grandpa]. We can make our life whatever it is that we choose or we can do nothing. It’s all up to us. You come into this world all by yourself and, more than likely, you’re going to leave the same way. In between the entrance and the exit, we are burdened with the subtleties of life where we are allowed to paint our own canvas. And we can do whatever it is that we wish to do. Some will be selfless, some will be selfish. That’s their right. Some will be cherished by others, some will be despised. Again, that’s their right. There is no guide telling you what to do and what not to do, you’ll have to figure that out for yourself. Hopefully, you try to enjoy yourself on this journey. And none of us knows how long our journey will last. All of the people in all of the cemeteries never finished what they intended to. There’s wisdom in that if you look for it. At least, that’s the way I see it. It’s been fun. Take it slow. God bless. MLProko (2011) more at www.mikeproko.com  

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm  Comments (1)  
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On forgiveness

• Forgive and forget (American axiom)

• Forgive and remember (Irish expression)

• Irish Alzheimer’s: forgetting/forgiving everything but the grudges

It’s my memory. It’s not me. Me? I’m as nice as a piece of pie. But it’s my memory. My ma used to say that it would be the death of me, my memory. She said it was a curse to remember so much. Maybe it had something to do with being Irish. Or Russian. But I always knew when someone helped me, when they came on board and when they said ‘no.’ She said that I remembered what most people would try to forget. I shrugged it off as some ranting from the original ‘worry-wart.’ Sooner or later, it was the memory that almost did me in. Almost. Turns out that I wasn’t through with my earthly journey yet. And, in all fairness, I think there was something that I was supposed to do before I was called home. Both times the grim reaper came a-calling, he waited ‘til I was asleep. He’s like that. The original coward, that’s his edge, to get you in your sleep. But still, both times I told him to go scratch his behind but not in those exact words.

I did my damnedest to get my house in order; changed my lifestyle, changed my habits and I started loving life again. But, y’know, we’re all wired a specific way—some are hard-wired and there’s not much you can do to change that. I used to work 15 hours a day, I rather enjoyed it, and then I started writing 15 hours a day, again, because I enjoyed it. But that forgiveness thing—I just couldn’t get my arms around that one. I did forgive myself for beating myself up when someone slighted me (I was unable to do that before) but to forgive the offender, no, I couldn’t do that. That’s probably a shortcoming on my part, so if that’s the least that I have to apologize for, then so be it.

Each and every one of us (men AND women) has a set of rules that we must live by and each set of rules is as individual as the person who makes them his/her own. Not that these rules are carved in stone although we’d like to think that should be the case. No, we make rules that we have to live by and we expect that others are doing the same. In due course, we find out that it has only been us that have been living by our stringent rules that others [and these are in the majority] have neglected to put in place. To them, life has always been a picnic or a day at the beach—just one long volleyball game followed by beer and hot-dogs. Then and only then, do you get to take a long hard look at the paces that you have put yourself through.

To keep a tally sheet on those who have helped you and when and how takes an awful lot out of you. If they’re your friends, then they will help you without being asked. If they don’t, then you just picked a fair-weather friend and that’s no ones fault but your own. My grandma used to say if you lend a friend $50 and you never see him again, you got off cheap. And that forgiveness thing? Just let life take care of them. If they’ve been cutting any corners, life will eventually even out the score and believe you me, when life hits you, it’ll hit you like a train. Not that you’re wishing these people any ill-will, but what goes around, comes around. Let life do the rememberin’ then you can start with the forgettin’. At least, that’s how I see it. MLProko (2011) www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On Joy and Soap Bubbles

In our busy and hectic world, no matter how complicated our days, the children can always put things into perspective. O’ to see the world through the eyes of a child. The unbridled joy of a child’s laughter, seeing the sustained magic in something as simple and quaint as a soap bubble should give those with all the answers time to pause and take a much-needed time-out.

One day, while visiting our grandchildren, I stumbled upon a couple of ‘soap bubble wands’ in a small store. One pink. One purple. The look on our granddaughter’s face when she saw that first bubble was precious. And she didn’t know what to do. So, she ran around the park lickity-split to catch them laughing all the while. When they were all gone or when they had burst, she’d yell over her shoulder Papou, do more bubbles! And then, she’d start up again chasing the bubbles and laughing all the while. Pretty soon, other kids in the park also noticed the iridescent orbs flying towards the sun and decided to join in on the chase. Where there had been one girl running and laughing now you had a dozen or so carrying on and laughing at about a half a pennies’ worth of soap. Precious. Just precious.

Off to my side, I noticed a couple, perhaps in their mid 60s, sitting on a park bench with plastic smiles on their faces. They had to be amused, c’mon, how could you not be? They’re kids, for crying out loud. I decided to take a breather and made my way over by the bench with the sitting couple and their pasted-on smiles. (Perhaps they were wincing from the sun or maybe just a little too much Botox. Then it hit me! It could have been both—sun AND Botox. Who knows and who cares?) I was watching the kids in amazement and I looked at the couple and said ‘R’member when we used to be like that, when we used to laugh like that? We all were like that once.’ And then, almost on cue, they both start up about having responsibilities and this thing and that thing, blah bah blah bah blah. I was dumbfounded. I just looked at them: Are you serious? And, again on cue, they both started in about putting away childish ways and being serious and this, that and the other. Geez, for cryin’ out loud, sit back and take a chill-pill, willya?

Y’know what, we all get older, there’s nothing we can do about that. Take it from a guy who’s been around the block a few times, growing up ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. You start losing stuff—your family, your friends, your dreams, your memories. The end will come soon enough. And the bad news is that none of us are getting out of here alive anyway. What did my grandpa used to say: ‘You might grow up, but you can stay immature for the rest of your life.’ So laugh a little more and don’t be in such a rush that you fail to see a little frivolity or the magic in the simplest of things.

The ancient Egyptians felt that when your life here on earth was over, you’d travel by boat to the heavens and get to meet the Sun-God. Before you could make your entrance into heaven they believe that you were asked two simple questions: #1. Did you find joy on your earthly journey? And #2, did you bring joy to those you met on your earthly journey? An answer in the affirmative probably got you in. The wrong answer meant that you were probably going to end up rowing your boat through space for eternity never finding dry dock.

Find it. Find your joy and share it. You still have time. And don’t be surprised if you find it hidden in something as simple as a soap-bubble. Take it from your Papou.

At least, that’s the way I see it. MLProko (2011) more at www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on June 18, 2011 at 8:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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On Meeting People

Every morning, before I even get out of bed, I know that something fantastic will happen on that given day, something that may or may not be on the radar screenan insight to a problem that I’m having, perhaps someone will say something that will have an impact on a decision that I’m about to make. Perhaps, I will look at a situation a little differently than I had been. But, I know that on any given day, something wonderful will happen and, almost always, I have been pleased with the results. It’s like I’m giving myself a Christmas present each and every day of the year. My grandmother (my dad’s mom) used to say that an angel will appear in whatever form that you need it. For the most part, my angels almost always take the form of strangers. Why is that? And how can they have such an impact on our lives?

It has been said that people come into your life for a reason, for a season or for life. You get to decide but it is always up to them to dictate the outcome. If they are there for a reason, then as soon as the situation is remedied, they’ll take off, which is fine. If they’re there for a season, then, as soon as that season is done, zoom, they’re gone. If you’re lucky enough to get that special someone to come into your life for life, then you will be blessed. Make of it what you will and over the long haul you will have more have more good days than bad. Look back on your own life and count the number of people who were there for only a little while and were able to help you in a given situation. Then, maybe circumstances dictated that it was time to move on and, much to our dismay, it was.

It is in our nature to try to stall Father-time, but that is a fight that we cannot win. We wonder why these people were not introduced to our lives earlier. If another person had an impact on our life say when we were 40, we like to think that our lives would have turned out completely different if we had only met them when we were in our 20s. But life doesn’t work like that. And it’s safe to assume that if you had met that person in your 20s, you might not have even noticed them. No, there is a reason why you met them when you did and, in time, that reason will become apparent to you.

We have all met people over the course of our lifetime that have had an impact on us like no other, at least, I hope you have. Today there are way too many people walking around in a daze who wouldn’t have the foggiest notion that another person was sent there to help them. Then there are those, sadly enough, who think that the rest of the human race is there to help them. These are the people who can’t seem to see past the nose on their face and if you can’t help them then what good are you.

Our lives are a series of hello’s and good-byes. And there will always be those to help you along in one way or another. Keep your eyes open. This journey that we are taking was never meant to be taken alone. Just remember, when one friend walks out of your life that usually means that one you have yet to meet is going to walk in. There is a great big world out there made up of friends that I haven’t met yet. Thankfully, my grandparents taught me that much.

At least, that’s the way I see it. MLProko (2010)   www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on December 26, 2010 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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