Introduction by Tracey Meyers
This year for my birthday, I went to see the play Annie with a friend of mine. As we approached the usher he asked us how we were on that particular day. After replying "Great!" I asked him how he was doing. His reply, "I'm above ground so I'm doing great!"
This isn't the first time I've heard someone reply that way when asked how they were doing, but I always find it to be an interesting response. I think most of the time the go to answer when a stranger asks you that question is to simply say, "Fine." However, to give such an answer like the one I got from the usher gives you a whole new perspective on life.
Someone else who has always given me a new perspective on life is one of CLC's Go-to-Gays, and my friend, Gary Edwards.
Glass Half Full of Lemonade
Being positive is something that comes a bit more naturally to some of us. I have always been a glass is half full person. I choose to see the best in people, things, and situations. I hate conflict and don’t like to sit and wallow in sorrow or negative thinking. Most of my life I have chosen to find joy, humor, happiness and always try to take a bite out of life.
I have had dark times; many were self inflicted, some were due to sorrow and loss of loved ones, and others due to outside sources beyond my control. I think that is where it all stems, control. What do we need to control, anything? Life is going to happen, the good, the bad and the ugly. Which do we gravitate toward when it happens? When life deals you a slice of pie which would you rather have? A slice of mud pie or a nice hot slice of apple pie?
For a long period of my life I tried to control what people thought of me. Partially, because I was having a hard time liking and understanding myself and who I was. I felt different for being gay and therefore was not being true to myself. I have learned it didn’t matter if I were gay or what I was. We all feel different from others at some point in our lives. What we choose to do about that is what makes the difference. For many years I drank and escaped my life and my own self loathing. Everyone, every situation was wrong in my eyes. I didn’t really like myself so how could I like anyone? It was not until I stopped drinking and learned to look life right in the eye. Learned to let go of control and stop trying to fix and judge everything in the world. I learned to be me again, the person who thinks that the glass is half full!
When I stopped drinking and realized I needed to grow, change and also not be responsible for controlling the world, my life got better, way better. I enjoyed life again to the fullest. I received so many gifts of wonderful people that came into my life. Connected deeper with family and old friends. Finished school, met Wade and started a wonderful life. Sure, life gets crazy, and I can rear my head on occasion and try to control a situation where the outcome doesn’t even matter. But most of the time I practice acceptance and continue to grow.
Whatever it is in your life that is hard, reach out to a friend, take time for you and start a new habit. The new habit of surrounding your life with positive things, people and situations. Being positive is contagious. So, get out of your head, help a friend and stop thinking so much. In yoga they say, “You are not your thoughts but you will become them.” In AA they say, “Stinking thinking leads to drinking.” By no means will any of us be perfect in this journey and on the bad days that is what unconditional love from a family member or friend is all about.
On Jan 01, 2015, I will hit my 20th year of sobriety. It is I think the only New Year’s Resolution I have ever stuck with. I am a proud recovering alcoholic and am so grateful my glass is now half full with just lemonade! So no matter your struggle please take care of yourself and practice acceptance, patience and random acts of kindness. Free your negative thoughts and get away from negative surroundings and start viewing the beauty in the world. Set some goals in 2015 and don’t let anything keep you down!
Hope you have a very bright and joyous holiday & New Year!
Gary Edwards is the marketing and events manager for bestselling author Wade Rouse. Edwards arranges Rouse’s tour schedule, speaking engagements as well as coordinates and facilitates his writing workshops and retreats. Additionally, Edwards has helped market and promote all five of Rouse’s books. Edwards also has a background in hospitality, and sales as well as design. With his vast professional background and a love to listen and help friends he is a perfect storm of love and nurture. Edwards is Martha Stewart meets Dear Abby with a dash of Mrs. Doubtfire. For more, please friend him on Facebook and Twitter.