Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Good and the Bad of Fooling Yourself

I have spent entirely too much time recently being annoyed with life.  Truth be told, I have absolutely no good reason to be grumpy.  The Thanksgiving holiday is supposed to be a time of reflection and taking the time to be grateful for the things which enhance our lives. 

The A #1 things I have to be thankful for are my two fabulous families.  The family I grew up with and the family I am now spending my time with as a father and a husband.  It is truly amazing how important it is to choose wisely when getting married and both my parents and I hit that one out of the park, on the first try I might add. 

For the next few paragraphs I am going to focus on something my lucky-enough-to-be-born-into family gave me.  This something has proven to be one of the greatest gifts ever given to me and it wasn’t even purposefully given.  It was an organic construct which grew slowly and was not-so-intentionally cultivated by my father, mother, siblings and some of my most influential friends.  What is this mighty treasure, this psychological boon, this windfall of nature and nurture combined?  Well, I’ll tell you.  It is a wholly unrealistic world view (sound of phonograph needle being scratched all the way across an album).
Wait, a second, did I just say I am grateful for an UNrealistic world view?  You bet. 

Before I describe this unrealistic worldview let me place one caveat in the mind of you, gentle reader.  I do not wish to say that everything in my world view is fantasy.  It is not.  The reason I call it unrealistic is it tends to ignore a lot of what is real in the world.  The things which are counter to the worldview I wish to subscribe to are frequently not given the importance of the things which support it.  That being said.  Here we go…

My family was fully comprised of readers.  Every flat surface in the house was home to a book, a magazine or a newspaper.  This means knowledge and intellectual awareness are components of my worldview.  I think this is important and then I project that sense of importance onto other people in my life.  This, like most every aspect of my consciousness, is a double edged sword.  It means I approach people believing they are thinking, curious people which helps us meet on a plane that cultivates respect and equality.  The problem is I do, from time to time, come across people for whom thinking is, shall we say, not listed on their personal Billboard Top Forty of daily activities. When that happens it is seldom the other guy who is left with a sense of disappointment and disillusionment.
My family also valued creativity.  My father was a weekend painter.  He mostly did landscapes and he did them nearly every Saturday and Sunday for the majority of my youth and young adulthood.  (This was proven without a doubt as we cleaned out our ancestral home and every time we moved something we found yet more paintings.  Most of them currently reside in my basement and whenever anyone visits they are not allowed to leave without a painting in hand and a promise to display it somewhere in their home.)  My mother was a writer.  She wrote letters, not e-mails, letters which were informative, interesting and displayed wit.  She also wrote poetry.  The most common poems were to friends and family on their birthdays.
The good side of being raised by creative minded people is I get true enjoyment out of the creativity of others and feel most engaged with life when I am being creative myself.  That feeling of high engagement is valued and cultivated but it does not reap benefits of the more material nature (the bad side).  I have been writing for this illustrious publication since June of 2007 and recently broke $2,000 of income reaped from that five and a half year tenure and that amount is Warren Buffet meets Exxon/Mobil money compared to what I have earned from every other writing product I ever created.   I do not do it for the money but I would really like to do much more writing and less of what I really do every day but living on $363 a year would not make my children very happy.
Still after examining the negatives I get much more positive from my unrealistic worldview.  I’m keeping it.

Christopher Pyle is thankful for many things.  Not the least of which is he will be snug in his bed during all the Black Friday door buster sales.  You can contact him at