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Disappointment and Magic

I seem spend a lot of time being disappointed.  Disappointed in myself and those around me.  Disappointed in the ways of the world and the attitudes therein.   Disappointed in what I have accomplished and what I have not.  And so on…

While it’s true, I was born on a Wednesday and therefore predisposed to being “full of woe” (as the nursery rhyme suggests) — I am not an inherently gloomy person.  In fact, I think most people would say I am generally a positive and up-beat individual.  So why the lingering feeling that things never turn out as well as they could – or should?  As a person who strongly believes that attitude drives outcome – I knew I needed a new perspective and an attitude adjustment.  To accomplish this, I set out to find the root of my discontent.

After a great deal of observation, thought and self-evaluation – I decided it all comes down to “magic.”

Early in our human lives we see the world as a magical place. We learn of tooth fairies, Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and wishing on stars.  We watch with wonder as tiny seeds sprout into flowers and fireflies light up the June skies. We read books about pumpkins turning into stagecoaches and frogs into princes. We see a place where brown caterpillars go to sleep — waking up as brightly colored butterflies and fuzzy black ducklings become elegant white swans. It’s magic.

While we grow up and learn the “realities” of these stories and the science of the occurrences – I don’t believe we ever outgrow the expectation of the magic.  This is not to say we live in a constant state of delusion – but rather we continue to hope for the magic – never really letting go of the possibility.  So, here we are – a world of grown-ups with minds full of reality and hearts hoping for magic.  It’s no wonder we are frustrated, disappointed and restless….

While this certainly provided an explanation for my discontent, it did not provide me with a solution.  I was only half way there.  So, I started carefully observing the people around me — friends, family, neighbors, and strangers.  I paid close attention to happy people, sad people, quiet people, loud people, young people and old people.  I watched how they responded to things – both good and bad.  It was both fascinating and enlightening.

First of all, life is hard and unfair to everyone.  Money, friends, family and social status do not buffer you from that reality.  Sometimes “good” people die unexpectedly, get fired unfairly, lose loved ones too soon, and get betrayed by friends.  Sometimes, “bad” people enjoy opportunities they don’t deserve, get promoted for others’ work, get recognition they didn’t earn, and seemingly live forever.  No matter how frustrating that may be – it’s a reality.

But magic happens too.  Sometimes flowers grow in the cracks of the sidewalk and a grain of sand becomes a pearl.  Sometimes people really do “walk the talk” and care about the “greater good”. Sometimes people survive the un-survivable and conquer the un-conquerable.  Sometimes the painting turns out to be a Picasso and the rock is really a diamond.  Sometimes the underdog wins.

As it is with many things – disappointment comes down to attitude.  So every day I try to remember:  hope for the best, be prepared for the worst and always look for the magic.

By Stephanie Koehler
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