I would like to apologise in advance for moaning when there are so many people having a thoroughly shit time elsewhere in the world, who would love to be in my shoes.
I'm 'lucky'; I've got three healthy children, a house, a partner and I'm not dying of cancer (yet). My parents are still alive, more luck there, and I can drive. Shorter people have informed me 'luck' is the reason I'm tall (has nothing to do with being spawned from an average height gene pool, 5' 7" is hardly statuesque). A friend with thin hair tells me I'm 'lucky' to have plenty of hair. Mum tells me I'm lucky I can spell (she's dyslexic) and for having use of a washing machine, disposable nappies, and her to call on for help.
I'm genuinely grateful for all that's good in my life, even praising an imaginary God for my family, good health, food to eat and so forth. I appreciate hearing birds sing, sunshine, the mountains that surround me and having a partner who doesn't beat me up. When my fridge is full, the washing is on the line (what is this obsession with the bloody washing line?) and my children are happy, a feeling of contentment often threatens to overwhelm me.
Gratitude is so important, it helps you to enjoy the present and take a snapshot which your mind can store for future reference. Occasionally though, feelings of guilt creep in, leading to a sense of impending doom. Do I deserve my family? Should we be eating cheap chicken breasts because we're skint, or still buying free range but feeling like we haven't earned the right to such extravagance. Is cancer slowly creeping around my body looking for somewhere to hide, waiting for the right moment to say 'boo!' Do people really like me, or do they tolerate me out of some sort of pity (only in my deepest moments of paranoia). Feeling guilty for not suffering is incredibly counter-productive, so what do you do when you feel a bit down? Does calling one of those days where you opt out of society and don't get dressed or move a 'duvet day' turn it into an event rather than just a temporary state of torpor.
Is there such thing as luck? Sometimes I like to do things for other people so I feel better about myself, it's a very selfish act, or maybe an attempt to rack up karma credits. Surely that makes me a first class bitch (albeit a lucky one).
What place does self-pity have in the social pecking order? Some people shape a very successful living from feeling sorry for themselves. A colleague once managed to have the entire staff (of about 30) rallying round to help her get back on her feet following her divorce. The hours spent crying in the staff room and airing all of her soiled laundry paid off. 'Soulmate' number 2 (I think she's on number 4 now) turned up within weeks and she had a new hairdo, home and wardrobe too. I kept my break-up quiet, only a few people knew. I felt it was all my fault that I'd got together with a wanker in the first place, and deserved to suffer in silence. I doubted anyone would be interested, didn't really like the sound of my own voice (how things have changed!) and just plodded on. Countless obstacles over the following two years stood in the way of my personal progress, but I got there. Who had the right approach? I think I did.
It is fine to be fed-up, dissatisfied angry and feel helpless at times. There always has and always will be horrendous goings on in the world, putting your plight into perspective. Contentment can still wash over you during some of the most depressing periods in your life, out of the blue. It is the human spirit which you need to admire and appreciate above all else. We, humans cannot control nature however meek or powerful it's force. Seeking to control other humans is the one thing that's sure to make life difficult for you over and over.
I shall try to burn onto my mind the positive images that emerge from Comic Relief, the earthquake aftermath and all other potentially distressing scenes. I am not lucky, nor unlucky. I am just a human being. I could be run over by a bus tomorrow (groan).