How to Enjoy Life (the short version)

A friend of mine popped up in my Facebook inbox the other day and he said “Angie, You enjoy life more than ANYONE I know. Maybe that’s what you should teach us in another book…you know, how to enjoy life for dummies or something.”

And at first I wanted to make a joke out of it and tell him here’s what the book would say, “Just do whatever the fuck you want.”

But upon further reflection, I have to admit that I don’t just do whatever I want. If that was the case, I’d sleep with married men and cheat on my boyfriend (if I had one) and I would never do either of those things. If I did whatever I want, I wouldn’t take into consideration my mom’s feelings before I decided to answer or ignore her phone call. I don’t do WHATEVER I want. I just do what works for me.

I guess what I really do is choose to be happy every day and I choose to love. I think this world is divided into two, maybe three, groups. There are those of us who believe it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. There are those who believe everybody is eventually going to hurt them so they either refuse to love or will only love on their terms. And there are those who love but are still miserable and choose to make everyone around them miserable.

I fall into the first group. I will love you. If you are my friend, I will love you. I will help you. I will give you a shoulder to cry on, I will give you my honest opinion, I will let you point out all my flaws to make you feel better about your life if that’s what you need. I will love you.

I love experiences. As I’m writing this, I’m currently sitting on the riverside watching the water. Close enough to the edge that if I even so much as hiccup I’m going to end up in the water or my phone might. But it doesn’t matter, because it would just be another experience that I love. It’s experiences who make us who we are and our ability to appreciate them no matter how big or small. Or how good or bad. Obviously, the good ones are easier to appreciate, but the bad ones change us in ways that nothing else will.

I love gestures and I appreciate them. I have a lot of people in my life. I really have tons of friends. I don’t know how I’ve become so lucky in that regard but I try to make an effort to appreciate when someone does something nice for me. Or shows me a kind gesture. For instance, the young night owl I’ve been talking to….he showed up at my son’s art show. I invited him but he had worked all day. I know he was exhausted. He even told me he probably wasn’t going to make it. I came out of the bathroom at the bar and there he was with his adorable smiling face. It wasn’t a grand gesture but it was a gesture that showed he gives a fuck about me even if it’s just a little bit. And I will always appreciate the fuck out of even the little gestures. And I will let people know that I appreciate them.

Which brings me to romantic love. I have loved a lot of men. Maybe not in a “oh my god I’m so in love with you more than anybody else ever” way, but definitely in a “I love you” way. I don’t think there is anything wrong with loving people. Has it backfired on me? Yes… Have I been hurt? Hell Yes!! Every single time. But I refuse to punish the next guy for the previous guy’s wrong doing. I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me. It’s like that song “You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart.” And I have. And I’ve been hurt over and over again. And I just keep doing it.  I think I even tend to attract men from the camp of “it’s better to not get too close or to love because I’m just gonna get fucked over anyway.” I don’t know why the cynical always find themselves at my door. And I would like to say for the most part, I quickly friend those kind of guys because I’ve loved those kind of guys before and when they say they will never get into a relationship, they mean it usually. But I don’t friend them. You know what I do? I love them anyways. Don’t tell me I can’t love you. I want to love everybody who is around me. So, yes, I will love the fuck out of the ones who warn me not to. I will love the unlovable.  I know I talk shit about dating and men and being single forever but truth be told, I would love the right guy. I mean, hell, I’ve loved tons of the wrong ones so, obviously, I have it in me. It’s actually something I long to do but the opportunity has not presented itself just yet.

So I guess for me, the key to enjoying life is to love everything. Love what you’re doing. Love who you are doing it with. Spend time with those you love. Figure out what you love spending time doing. Find people who love the same things you do. Love the little things like the smell of rain on hot concrete, the sound of babies playing in a fountain, even your barking dogs at 6 am. Because wouldn’t it suck to be one of those crotchety old people who hates everything? I’d much rather be one of those old people caught dancing her way down the steps because today is a beautiful day to be alive. And I still have love left to give. I probably have more to say on this topic, so a book is not totally out of the question, I just wanted to give the Cliff’s Notes version of it.

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