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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy Gene vs Grim Reaper Gene?

On The Two Whos blog, Cece told a story about her sister Kristen:

“I am Glad You’re not Planning to Die! Thank you!” This was the 2 sentence sarcastic email I received from my sister after she received all 13 pages of my advanced directives, my living will and the “how tos” of fish and cat care. …also my plans for the funeral in case the worst happened in surgery.

You see, my sissy prefers to look on the bright happy side of life. She often says “I like to have denial.” She inherited my mother’s gene in this area of life. The Happy gene!

However, everyone seems to tell my sister about their dying. She told me, “This is the story of my life…including the calls with dad.” She swears that every phone call to my dad, she gets a death reference. So, she gets a lot ‘death reference’ in her conversations. It must be her ultra cheery attitude…The Happiness gene! Could it be that we are all just trying to temper it!

“Why not in denial? Grandma used to make me buy her very small bottles of vitamins because she did not think that she would live long enough to use them all and she did not want to spend money on a bigger bottle….but she made me keep buying the little bottles for years and she kept telling me she was gonna die soon….but she lived well past 100!,” she rants! My sister is on a roll! …..

Me? On the other hand, I inherited my father’s gene in this area of life. My sister calls it “The Grim Reaper” or ”Doom and Gloom” gene. I prefer to say that I see the pothole in the road and make a plan to go around it! I do not think it is doom and gloom…just taking a look at reality and what could possibly happen…and being prepared for it.

Possibly being a Girl Scout all those years taught me to “be prepared” ……but my sister was a Girl Scout too! Go figure! Gene pool?

For whatever reasons that we are different, it matters much less why we are different than the fact that we are different! So, then, does it matter that we see things, even the matters of life and death, differently?

No and yes! Different perspectives are just the way of life in our mind, no matter how we see life, life happens regardless. Like the ‘death’ Cece has been consciously preparing “in case” in past few days, or how her sister has consciously chosen to “have denial”. As long as we are conscious about what we are thinking, perspectives become our choices. When this happens, we can consciously choose the perspectives that serve our life for the better.

The happy happy or the grim reaper? The point here is not which perspective (attitude) is better than the other. Rather, can we see our perspective as perspectives, the product of our thoughts? Do we have the power to choose our perspectives to serve our life? Can we see the other person’s perspective as their perspective?

PS from Cece…as she is editing, she is back from surgery. All is well! Thanks for your well wishes! She developed ” the happy gene ‘ as she read the anesthesia disclaimer…and decided it was better to have denial than to embrace all those scary side effects…including death! She just signed the paper