Love Life

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”
Arthur Rubinstein

But that’s not always true. Or is it?

When I was younger, and even just a few years ago, I was more naive than now. Naively positive. It's not a bad thing. Who doesn't want to be positive and see the glass as half full rather than half empty. But maybe these easily doled out positivity can actually bring more hurt and even guilt than expected. “Did things go wrong because I didn’t love life enough? Did I do something wrong? Did I not do enough? Am I not good enough? Was I too lazy? Too complacent?”

How do we know that life is loving us back? When life is problem-free? When everything is going well and smoothly? When our dreams come true?

But dreams don't always come true, do they? Does it mean that we are doomed to live a subpar life when the best house that we can afford is a fixer-upper (but with not enough money to ever fix it up) and not one of those gorgeous houses we see on our feed? Have we failed because we can’t achieve all that we set out to do because life decides to throw a wrench in the works? And did we ever think that we’d be standing in front of the eggs section in the grocery store, mentally calculating if we can afford to get what we had planned? How about when disaster strikes and we lose everything? Have our lives been in vain then? Can we be just as happy and contented with the second best or third best instead of our first choice?

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves… Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
- Bruce Lee

As I get older, looking at what's happening in the world, what's happening in people's lives, and journeying through this thing called Life myself, I realize that maybe we should stop striving for the elusive “ideal life” (or planner peace? lol), where we try so hard to make things fall in place, where things are where we want them to be, where we are where we want to be, where we are living in “happiness” without problems. Our default mode is to try to make the problems go away, isn't it? 

Maybe we should consider doing the opposite: to stop trying so hard to make everything “bright and beautiful” and accept that life is just going to be filled with both the alrights and the not-alrights. There will be both blessings and sufferings. There will be times of bliss and elation, and also times of anger, sadness and disappointments. No matter how hard we try to avoid them. We should not be surprised when we trip over an obstacle, when problems and sufferings come our way; we should expect things to go wrong, for things to fall apart. And that’s ok. It happens. It’s supposed to happen. So we adapt. We recalibrate. We adjust.

Good and bad, they are all part of life. We can learn to ride them like waves, surrendering ourselves to the natural current of life and try to ride out this phase as best as we can, rather than uselessly wrestling against them and risk sinking and drowning in the depths. 

I'm not saying that we should be resigned to our fate or not have any goals and dreams, but I think there is merit in not viewing "the bad things" as out of the ordinary. I think taking this stance can help us live our lives more realistically with less resentment. Maybe this acceptance of the less than perfect will bring some peace.

So is the above quote true? I think it can be, depending on how we define Life itself, what loving Life means and what it means to have Life love us back. What are your definitions?

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