I’ve been having a bit of trouble sleeping lately. You know, so many thoughts, so little time. So many questions, so few immediate answers. So many aches, so little head.
Well, that’s not true. I actually have a big head. I mean physically I have a big fat German head. But thanks to a galloping horse (off of which I tumbled, onto my head) and a rogue Mack truck (which rear-ended the van in which I was seated, causing nasty whiplash amongst other things), my head sometimes aches beyond what Tylenol can handle. Weirdly, this works out quite well for all those thoughts and questions swirling about because if I can’t sleep I might as well contemplate, right? Or stew? Or just lie awake tossing and turning until the rooster crows?
Anyhoo … it all works out symbiotically for my head and my thoughts and I’m a little ~yawn~ tired in the morning.
So the most recent question has to do with that oh-so-tricky word “deserve”. I ask this because a friend of mine just told me that she “deserves” a vacation. Down south. On a beach. Palm tress and all that. Now, I just returned from such a holiday and it was delightful and I sure did love most every moment of it. But did I ever even in my drunkenest revelry believe that I “deserved” that holiday?
Of course not. I don’t even know what a person would have to do to actually deserve a southern sojourn. Work more hours then everyone else? Work smarter than everyone else? Win the lottery or inherit money? What if you haven’t ever had a beachy blast? Do you then deserve it, because by golly it’s got to be your turn?
I’ve traveled more than most and certainly enjoyed many lovely vacations. Beaches. Sunsets. Margaritas. Now, here’s the thing. Should I be feeling guilty because I know a lot of people who have never ventured south? Or only twice? Or not since their honeymoon? When exactly will I know what I deserve and what they don’t? And how exactly will I know it?
This past January my beloved and I jetted to England to visit family. Not really the best time to travel but the price was right and we were long overdue. The day before we flew one of my very sweet friends said “Have a great time … you deserve it.”
And I thought “I do?” Hmmm. What exactly have I done to deserve this holiday and that great time? Did I spend last year volunteering at the blood bank and feeding the homeless? Did I donate thousands to charity? Was I nice enough to my mother? What exactly prompted my pal to tell me that I deserved more rewards?
See what I mean. “Deserve” is a very tricky word.
I once read a quote (and wrote a blog about it here) – “When you settle for less than you deserve, you end up with less than you settled for.”
That one I like, and I think I understand. At that time I was in a relationship that wasn’t exactly going as planned (do they ever?). And the more that that pesky man removed from my table, the harder I struggled to maintain my seat. It was (for me) a lose/lose situation. And that quote (thankfully) was the giant wake-up call I needed. Because the less HE could get away with, the less HE offered. And the less I accepted, figuring in my heartbroken, semi-abandoned state that any crumb was better than starvation.
Pardon me while I throw up.
I do not, will not, can not live in that Victim-land anymore. All you got is crumbs? Well baby, look at all those other restaurants! I deserve a full meal and damnit I’m going to go get it.
I believe that. I believe with all my heart that we ALL deserve to be sated. By relationships. Relationships that we choose. And that’s the kicker. Because WE choose our relationships and then WE decide if they are providing enough of what we DESERVE for us to stay in them. THAT is when “deserve”makes sense to me.
I’d really like a horse. Or a sports car. Yes, neither of my early misfortunes turned me off riding or driving. The question begs – do I deserve a horse? Or a Mercedes 450SL (is that too specific?).
Of course not. I guess if I worked really hard and made tons of money and did good deeds and paid off all my debts, THEN I could go purchase that pony. Even then – would I deserve it?
No more than my single-mom friend supporting two sons on one income deserves her dream month in Italy. I may have earned it. In the way that I do hope one day she (or her kids) earn her Italy vacation (and she takes me with her). But just because she has sacrificed TONS for her kids, does she now deserve something special?
Because that’s just part of the job description. Sacrificing for your offspring. It’s what we parents sign up for. And once you’ve signed up, well damnit get ready for the long haul. With gratitude.
So why does my friend believe she deserves a holiday?
All I can come up with is this – we have become a society built on quick fixes. Instant gratification. Addiction and relief. Right fucking now, thank you very much. We have also become a nation of expert rationalizers. My son took a little holiday earlier this year and literally told me that he couldn’t afford NOT to go. Yep, it was such a bargain he couldn’t afford not to go.
Apparently my friend also can’t afford not to go. Her overall financial situation isn’t much better than my kid’s but … she deserves it. She has sacrificed oodles and now she deserves it.
My feeling is that if WE feel compelled to publicize what WE think we deserve, then we most likely deserve far less than we assume. I am a huge believer in the Universe and Energy and Karma. What goes around comes around, what you give you get – all those platitudes became platitudes for a reason. As soon as you feel the urge to rationalize ANY decision you have made, all bets are off.
Because (in my humble opinion) IF you truly deserved whatever it is you think you deserve, that need to rationalize wouldn’t exist. You would just quietly go about your business not giving a Kentucky fuck about what anybody thinks.
And maybe, just maybe, that tricky word “deserve” would never even show up? Maybe you would just allow the Universe to decide what you deserve and be grateful for those blessings whenever they arrive? Maybe you would allow Energy to determine what rewards you shall reap, based on what you have altruistically sewn? And maybe Karma isn’t actually a bitch after all, but a loving, rewarding Goddess, more than ready to treat you to a palm tree or two?
I probably have a few hours tonight to dwell on this further so feel free to ask me in the morning.