Of all the slogans we hear in the rooms, I have struggled the most with the “life” themed expressions. For example:
Accepting life on life’s terms…
When life gets lifey…
When life shows up…
After some time under my belt, I figured out they are mostly talking about expectations and acceptance. But I have to say, that “life on life’s terms” has at once been the most mystifying and irksome.
First of all, what the f-word does that mean, anyway? Who is this “Life” and where exactly are these “terms” recorded? I clearly didn’t get the manual. I think what is most objectionable is the personification of life as though it too has a will – and is commander and chief to boot. For sure, it triggers my inner anarchist, prompting a visceral rebel yell from somewhere deep in my core. Somewhere about an onion-layer above soul-level where my programming sits in defiance of all that’s holy.
The other sayings are less confrontational, IMHO, but still feel a bit fatalistic for someone who has yet to get to the nirvana of a solid Step 11, and put it into practice during rocky times. “Life showing up” and “getting lifey” both imply that when that pesky Mr. arrives at your door, it’s at best going to be a dull or irritating afternoon; at worst, a roller coaster ride with the original four-letter word that starts with F and rhymes with “dear”. Either way, it doesn’t sound like fun, this life business.
My preference, now, is to imagine my journey through daily life as a patchwork quilt. It’s a bit of this, a bit of that. And often all at once horrifying, bad, tiresome, irksome, good, delightful, and divine. This revelation came to me one day recently when I grew tired of trying to respond to the well meaning but most often rhetorical “how are you?”. The program has taught me to be rigorously honest. And as the depth and breadth of my sobriety increases, I am finding it harder to just say “fine, thank you”. I am rarely if ever just fine. My state of being is more often than not a mixed bag, and I suspect that is true for most people (especially recovering humans). So, now, that is what I say unless it is a truly gleeful day or one that started out and stayed firmly in the shitter. Though, I do usually say it with an ironic smile so as not to bring down the room more than necessary (yes, I probably need another program but that is a topic for another blog).
Any other recovering humans out there have an opinion on this life business? Please feel free to comment. I would love to hear from you.