Be cool, don’t be a fool 

Emotions are a tricky thing. If you don’t watch what they are doing to you, they can control the better part of you. We cannot control our emotion, but if we have a healthy brain, then we should be able to control our actions that our emotions want us to perform. 

For example,  whenever a driver ignores a red light when I’m crossing the street on the crosswalk, I imagine myself cursing the driver and flipping the finger at him (I did this just one time in the many times I have witnessed such irresponsible driving.) There is so much anger inside, but instead of acting on it, I’d talk about it with whoever is around to listen to my rant for a minute or two, and then, Whew! I can smile again. 

In my 40+ years in this world I have learned that I cannot just let anyone or anything control my actions. I can’t remember where I read this, but I’ve never forgotten it: We should act, not just react. 

Wherever you go, there will always be people who will make you angry or make you feel insecure. Some may do it intentionally,while others may not even know they are doing it. Either way, I think the reason they do it is people like these are either emotionally or socially immature, or they have a psychological problem.  (Don’t you think it’s easier to forgive a person when you know he’s sick?)

With social media, young people measure their worth by the number of  “likes” they get on their posts. “Likes” from people they don’t even know. And when they don’t get the expected number of “likes,” they would feel there’s something wrong with them. I see this happening not only among young people, but even among older ones who spend so much time on social media. 

But really when you come to think of it, there should only be a few people whose opinions count to you — family and real friends — those who we truly know and know us as much as we do them. 

The other night I saw a video of Taylor Swift talking about what made her write her song, “Shake it Off”. I don’t know if she practices what she preaches, but it’s quite good advice for people out there whose moods, emotions and behaviors are mere reactions not only to social media feedback but also to what their so-called friends and co-workers tell them. Really, just shake ’em off. 

Don’t ruin your day by giving too much attention to people whose opinion does not help you in any way but merely adds a wrinkle on your face and a white/gray hair on your head. 

Don’t let them win. 

Don’t be a loser. 

On Age, Music and Chemicals in the Brain

music

A few days ago, I came across this interesting post on serotonin and dopamine and was reminded of it yesterday as I was listening to the songs of Barry Manilow. (OK. Please. Just be patient with me. I do have a point I want to share.)

When I was younger (“…so much younger than today…”) whenever I heard Barry Manilow’s songs, I would sing along until I cried (Yeah, I was that disgustingly dramatic.) I would think of the guys that I liked but didn’t even know I existed, or the guys that I liked but were not free, or the only one that broke my heart to pieces. (Who would not cry listening to “Even Now” and “Somewhere down the Road”???)

Now that I’m in my 40’s and in a stable, loving relationship with my husband of 10 years, and together raising a child, I feel absolutely nothing when I hear the songs that used to make me cry and later make me smile. When I listened to those same songs yesterday, there was not even a sigh. Nada. It seemed like that part of my mind or my heart just disappeared!

My husband thinks it’s just because I’m over that time in my life. Well, I have been over that period in my life for years now. But I used to have fond memories of that time. Now, even that fondness is gone.

So I wonder if those chemicals in my brain are up to something, or I am just getting old or already old.

Do old songs still make you cry or smile or angry? Do they have any effect on you at all? 

“Everybody’s somebody’s fool…”

It was supposed to be a rock music day –I started with U2’s The Joshua Tree album and sang along with Bono, and then it was Freddie Mercury and the Queen. But as I went over the Lyrics folder in my old portable hard drive I saw “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” and remembered the song.

I first heard this song when I bought a CD called “When Love Goes Wrong” a few years back.

Everybody’s somebody’s fool

The world is the biggest school
As you live, you learn though a torch will burn
Everybody’s somebody’s fool

You go through life making fools of others
Pretending you’re giving them love
But remember sister or brother
You all have to answer to the one up above

It’s beautiful to watch love begin
But oh so sad when it ends
As you go through life remember this rule
Everybody’s somebody’s fool

It’s beautiful to watch love begin
But oh so sad when it ends
As you go through life remember this rule
Everybody’s somebody’s fool

It seems like ages ago when I felt I could have written those lyrics myself. I think many have played the fool at one point in his or her life — when one gave all and left almost nothing for oneself — to someone who, as one looks back, was not really deserving of it, and not just because the love that was offered was not reciprocated, but because the person was not what you thought. But c’est la vie. Perhaps at one time, too, we fooled somebody into believing we loved them, when, really, we were just fond of them like we are fond of pets.

This song also reminds me of the first line of one of my favorite contemporary novels written by Andrew Sean Greer, The Confessions of Max Tivoli: “We are each the love of someone’s life”. This sentence really moved me at the time. My mentor/spiritual director/idol mentioned it to me, and I looked it up and read the book and emailed Mr. Greer and, I think because he wasn’t as famous that time and had the time to read and reply to emails, he replied to my email, and I was in heaven. It is so true. There is that one person who truly loves us, and remains faithful to us despite the many shortcomings or hurts we have caused them. They are our angels. Of course psychology will have a different explanation, but who cares? Somebody loves us more than we can ever love ourselves or them, and it’s enough.

You maybe a fool now (perhaps you fooled somebody in the past), but know that someone out there loves you. You are the love of someone’s life. Be grateful for that love.