Life is too short to be hateful.
Be angry, get frustrated, but never be hateful.
In 2004, my only aunt passed away from pancreatic cancer. She was 52. She never smoked or drank. She ate healthy food and exercised. She wore sunscreen. She beat breast cancer 7 years before. She spent years of her life helping Jewish people from across Europe move to Israel through Bridges for Peace. She married young, had two kids and didn't finish college. She taught herself Greek and Hebrew so that she could read the Bible in the original text. Don't get me wrong, she wasn't perfect, but she was doing the best she could to make the world a better place. She told me once to live life with no regrets. That wasn't an instruction to do whatever I wanted. It meant that I should think about what I do, make sure I wouldn't regret it in the future.
That year, I learned a really hard lesson. As good as you are as human or as mindful as you are of your health, it does not guarantee you anything. You don't get a pass from cancer no matter how many cheeseburgers you pass up.
The lesson I learned was that life was too short for anything that does not make the world a better place. If I die tomorrow, I want to leave the world better than I found it. I want the last impression that people have of me is that I had a positive impact on the world around me. I want to look back on my life and say that I don't regret the choices I made. The big ones or the little ones.
Now, I'm not finding the cure for cancer, but I'm trying to be the best person I can be.
And we all can do it. I'm willing to bet that everyone who reads this has donated to a charity or spent time volunteering. If you're like me, you can't donate thousands of dollars to charity. I have a job to pay the bills so I can't devote all my time to volunteering either.
But we have the power to
MAKE THE WORLD BETTER,
simply by being kind and compassionate and nice. We also have the power to really ruin someone's day by being hateful and cruel. It's so easy now to spread spite through the internet because you don't have to look the person in the eye. I am trying to be better than that. We all can.
I think it's okay to get mad at stuff. Traffic makes me want to use HBO words and I don't curse. But I don't let it ruin my day. I don't let it upset me when I can't do anything about it. The sequester? The fact that 12,000 people in my town alone will lose their jobs, including people I know, people who have pugs and kids and mortgages? I can't wave a magic wand to fix Washington. Does it upset me? Absolutely. So I focus on what I can do. I can make sure that my friends know that I'm here to help as much as I can. I can drop off casseroles and dog food and help with resumes and job searches. I can focus on the good I can do instead of the bad in the world.
The world can be a really terrible place outside of human influence. Hurricanes wipe entire towns away. Diseases kill people. Then humans can turn around and make things even worse. And we don't have to. We have the choice to do something regretful or something wonderful.
Our dogs think we are the greatest people in the world. When Petunia jumps in my lap, snuggles her head on my chest and sighs sweetly, I know that she is happy and content and wouldn't be anywhere else on the planet. Tallulah, Petunia and Isabelle know that I give them the best life I can and love me no matter what. Even when I have a bad day at work and come home grumpy (because I'm not perfect), they are so glad that I'm home. I'm smothered in pug kisses and knocked over by curly tails wagging. My pugs inspire me to be a better person every day.
Let's all be the person our pugs think we are. When something makes you mad, get mad but then put it in perspective. Is it worth making your blood pressure skyrocket? Are there more important things you could be doing, like hugging your pug? When hate comes knocking on your door, ignore it. It will go away. Don't respond to meanness with more meanness. It is a never ending cycle that only drags you down to the meanie's level. You decide how you react to a nasty comment. Decide to be the better person. Don't say something you will regret later. You will sleep better and be happier. Trust me.