Scarlett O’Hara and I are kindred souls in many ways. Oh, not in her selfishness and vanity. (OK, maybe in the vanity part….. just a little.) But, she was a stubborn, resourceful, and independent woman at a time when none of that was admired in a lady. Yes, I realize that I’m talking about a character in a book and subsequent movie, but still…….
She moved in society as easily as she faked her way into jail to visit Rhett when she needed money to save her family and their homestead. She whined, she cried, she slapped many faces (I counted how many times in the movie rendition once, but have forgotten the number now), and she haughtily uttered some very wise things.
Such as “Tomorrow is another day.” As I’ve aged to perfection, that one has been the most valuable to me.
When we’re young, we tend to view everything that happens to us as the stuff of our very own reality show. Life hums with the highs and lows we all experience, and when we’re on a high, it’s a lot of fun. But when those lows hit, we often fall into a valley of personal despair from which it’s hard to see over the rock walls surrounding us.
Some people are even so naïve to think that THEY won’t have any serious valleys in their lives….until they do. It’s even worse, then, because it was unexpected for those folks. And sometimes we fall into so many holes, deeper and deeper each time, that we give up trying to climb out at all. We allow the darkness to envelop us and we think that is going to be our lot in life forever.
As the years have spun by in my life, I’ve been on top of the mountain numerous times. My life was on the high end of the pendulum’s swing recently, too. I smiled a lot. I had activities that brought me such joy that I was literally dancing through life. I was working at something I loved—writing—so my days seemed like a playground.
Then the evil genie that grabs the end of the pendulum and drags it to a stop showed up. I fell off into the dirt, scraped my knees and have run home to lick my wounds. I haven’t felt peppy for quite awhile, in the midst of family issues, changes in my work focus, and the general mud that life can become.
I think the cliché is that things can change on a dime, right? So, I need to channel Scarlett and have another chat. “Fiddle-de-dee,” she says when confronted with challenges. She reminds us that set-backs don’t last forever. She was knocked down so low once that she wore curtains for a gown to seduce Rhett. But she also succeeded in her quest to chase those Yankees off her land and have a real dress again.
She realized something that we all embrace as we age: Tomorrow will show up, either with us or without us. And there will be another one after that when a low may hit again, and the pendulum swings back to happy days. If we just keep hanging on to it long enough to shake that evil genie off into the muck.
The trick is to realize that truth when we’re young. When life seems dismal, we have to know that things will get better…… because they always do. Scarlett said so.
I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy.
I'll think about that tomorrow.
Scarlett O’Hara/Gone With the Wind
NOTE: This is a revised version of a blog post from my original Aged to Perfection blog that appeared in September, 2013. Which is further proof that truth endures.