Don't let life be a 'should' show
Updated: Sep 13
I should have accomplished so much more by this time in my life.
I should be able to fit into the jeans I wore in college.
I should have spent more time with my grandmother before she died.
I should have started a retirement plan earlier.
I should exercise more.
I should write a book.
I should be…
I get it. Someone mentions an event and says, “can you believe that was 10 years ago” and you swear it couldn’t have been more than 3. You’re now getting sponsored ads from AARP in your social media feeds and flyers in the mail from the local funeral home! Time's running out, they warn, and you should be prepared! The turning of the calendar, the ticking of the clock and suddenly there are ‘should’ warnings everywhere you look.
Many will remember a daytime television show called “Days of Our Lives” that began captivating people’s secret, lustful desires while they ignored admonitions and warnings of a life of degradation from the Sunday sermon. “Why would you allow this filth on your television if you wouldn’t allow it in your bedroom” became the battlecry of many a televangelist who, as we would later discover, didn’t exactly practice what they preached. Should have seen that one coming! *wink*
This new televised guilty pleasure was called a ‘soap opera’ because most of its major sponsors, for many years, were manufacturers of soap and detergents. Days of Our Lives began airing in 1965 and, beyond my comprehension, is still beguiling many of those same people, and a slew of new ones, to this very day. The synopsis of the show is this.. “The Horton and Brady broods endure the romantic trials of life in Salem, a small town filled with evil geniuses, star-crossed lovers and a rich family history.” Sounds an awful lot like a famous city, whose name I shall not mention, minus the geniuses. I should stick to the story!
My in-laws used to watch this sultry soap every Monday through Friday when my father-in-law came home on his lunch hour. His office was about 10 minutes away from their home and, you might think, it was just a coincidence that his 1:00 lunch hour coincided with the very same time this show came on, and he would have had you believe that, but, the truth is, he was as hooked on that show as my mother-in-law. Each afternoon, like a synchronized dance number, he casually sauntered in through the garage door, so as to not appear overly enthusiastic and chance having his ‘man card’ revoked. There, he entered the kitchen where his lunch was already prepared, awaiting his punctual arrival. With sandwiches and sweet iced tea in hand, they made their way to the wood-paneled den where their metal tv trays were already stationed in front of their respective chairs…his, a brown leather La-Z-Boy and hers, a padded wooden rocker. It was show time.
They had the cutest little blonde haired dog named Sundance and every day, at the very beginning of the show, he would sit right in front of the television, quivering anxiously, as the title sequence began. Each episode began with ominous sounding music, like that of a ticking clock with an eery melody overlayed. The background image was that of a large hourglass. Slowly, the camera would zoom in for a closer view of the sand, the grains merging toward the center, sliding from the top half and streaming like liquid towards the bottom. As the flowing sand continued its descent, the narrator would caution the viewers with the foreboding words ….Like sands through the hourglass…so are the days of our lives.” Suddenly the music shifted from somber to something that made you feel hopeful, light-hearted or like sleeping flowers might suddenly bloom while lovers danced in the moonlight. Cheesy, I know. Perhaps Velveeta should have been a sponsor!
But what about the dog, you ask? There was something about that change in melody that made him throw his little head back and howl until the music stopped and they cut to commercial. I sure wish I knew what was going on in that little doggie brain. Was he happy because the music was more upbeat and he was joyfully singing a resounding Howl-elujah? Or…did he know that, sooner than later, all the sand was going to end up in the bottom and that would be the end of….well, the days of our lives?
I can’t give you a magic spell to turn back the hands of time but honestly, would you really want to go back knowing what you know now? Maybe. But who’s to say you would have made such drastically different decisions? Not a single one of us doesn’t look back through our history and wonder…”WHAT WAS I THINKING?” But we are asking a question about then with the thinking we have now. The truth is, we did what we did because we knew what we knew. And now….we do what we do because we know what we know. It is our ability to be reflective and introspective about our yesterdays that gives us the power to chose what we will do, say, be, become, believe, embrace, release, forgive, forget, stop or begin today.
Right now, this day…this moment, which is all there is, we can choose our thoughts. Make your own list of what you think you should do or be. Now look at each one and ask..."is that true?" Should I have accomplished more at this time of my life? Should I be doing more? What if we shift the should thinking to "I am" thinking?
I am grateful.
I am free to chose the way I see my life.
I am a loving, thoughtful person.
I am not a victim of my past and shame has no value for the life I am choosing to live today.
I am grateful for my body.
The only SHOULD-show I suggest you watch is this....Watch what you think - all the Days of Your Life.