If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire

Happiness

Last night when I was trying to avoid going to bed (I’m basically a child… I always feel like I’m going to miss something), I started rereading parts of books that I love. I came across one of my favorite quotes about one of my favorite people. Steve Martin, when talking about Gilda Radner’s death, said, “Gilda was so lovable in person as a person. And so it was easy to get sentimental about her, because in looking back over her life, I know she had trials and tribulations, but knowing her, it was never expressed. It was just joy and happiness and funniness and comedy.”

That got me thinking. How lovable are you in person as a person? Times get hard… believe me, I know it. But are you letting this define the type of person you are?

While I love Gilda and want to give her all the props in the world, I don’t think she was able to be “joy and happiness and funniness and comedy” by herself. I firmly believe that we are products of who we surround ourselves with. 

I’ve had high times and low times. There were periods in my life where I was fun to be around and other times when I was toxic to other people. However, when I look at all the factors that contribute to my happiness, I realize that so much of it has to do with the company I keep. When I was at my low point, I was surrounded by fake friends who weren’t doing anything to inspire me or make me feel comfortable in my own skin. How am I supposed to grow as a person if I don’t surround myself with others who are like me?

And when I say “like me”, I use that term loosely. I love having a diverse group of friends. I have friends of all different ages, occupations, passions, backgrounds, walks of life… but we all have this commonality that roots us. We have a deep desire to be happy, to dream and to just be there for each other. The crowd I surround myself with gets me. They’re fierce students of life. They understand that sometimes I just want to break out and dance and other times I really need to cry. They understand the silly side just as much as the sentimental one. They get that I have fears, dreams and quirky habits… and they’re really incredible people who make me happier every single day.

Last Thursday I was at my improv class. My proudest moment of that class was that I didn’t manage to piss my pants during it. Was it because everyone was hilarious? Actually, quite the opposite. All of us couldn’t stop laughing at absolutely nothing. We were all just so happy and giddy… to have our friends who weren’t in class last term back with us, to have negativity weeded out, to just be present in the moment. To be alive and together.

There are so many areas of life that you can’t control. Shit happens, bad people come and go… so much of our life speeds past us as we desperately try to hang onto some morsel of control. But you can control this. You have a say in who you spend your time with. So reflect on your life… who are you spending the majority of your week with? You can’t control it all – your boss is your boss, your teacher is your teacher and the grumpy bus driver is your grumpy bus driver. They’re not leaving anytime soon. But look at everyone else… who are you getting coffee with? Who are you Facebook chatting with? Who are you making the conscious decision to keep in your life?  Are they there with you – raising you up, lending you their ear when you need to talk, not judging you when you admit that “See You Again” by Miley Cyrus is one of your favorite songs?

Last Saturday my friend had us over for a bonfire and it was wonderful. I was surrounded by a few of my favorite people, as well as some new and glorious strangers. Everyone was just there, in the moment, enjoying life. It made me think of one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems:

If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

Find these people. Please do yourself this favor. They’re out there and they’re so excited to meet you.

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