“You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to a situation; if you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish.” ~ Author Unknown
One of my challenges to myself for 2012 was to spend a bit more time reading from books. I read plenty in a normal day, but most of that is done via the internet. As an English major at CU, I spent four years with my nose buried in actual books. I continued reading like a fiend after college and through graduate school. After becoming a mother, however, I found less and less time for reading books. I had to grab a bit of reading here and there, and I got sick of dragging out a book only to read two pages and have to put it down again. I eventually gave up, but I have missed it.
Yesterday I started reading a hardback I checked out of the Columbine library. (Yes. I am old school. I don’t have a Kindle. I still go to the library in person to check out books. Shocking, I know.) Anyway, I saw this book recommended on one of those lists that you see everywhere that tout the “must read” literature. This particular list was 30 Books Everyone Should Read Before Their 30th Birthday. Okay. Okay. I realize I should have read this book over 13 years ago before I turned 30, but 13 years ago the book didn’t even exist. It was published in 2005.
It’s called Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wisner. The gist of the story, as I’ve been able to gather from the book jacket and the 60 pages I’ve cruised through so far, is that Franz was dumped by his fianceé just five days before their wedding in 1999. In a situation that is painful, not to mention embarrassing, Franz went for the glass is half full approach. He hosted his friends the weekend of his would-be wedding and let them comfort him when he needed it most. Then, brokenhearted but trying to move on, Franz asked his brother to join him on what would have been his honeymoon trip to Costa Rica. While there, the brothers decided that they should extend their trip and travel the world while they still have the opportunity. And that is exactly what they do. For two years they traveled, eventually hitting 53 countries across Eastern Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa.
Even without finishing the book, I know I like this guy. When faced with what would flatten many people, Franz chose to see his circumstances as opportunity, his misfortune as a gift. I am all too guilty of being that glass is half empty sort of gal. I sulk. I wallow. I whine. Eventually, I move on, but not without giving up too much time to purposeful misery. I need to pause briefly when I perceive what might be a change for the worse and then adjust my attitude before moving on. Who knows? Maybe if I uncrossed my arms and stopped pouting long enough after falling in that puddle I might just find those fish in my silver-lined pockets?