Take the Good... Take the Bad

by Cutter Slagle

Rage Monthly

Sunday November 19, 2017

It's that most wonderful time of year again, a time when it's perfectly acceptable-even in the LGBTQ community-to stuff your face until it hurts. To be clear, I'm talking about stuffing your face with turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce and pie, not... well, you know.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is officially upon us and now, more than ever, it's imperative to give "thanks" while sipping (for most of us it's chugging) on that third glass of Merlot. In all honesty, it's probably not too difficult for the majority of people reading this to be thankful, at least for something in their life. Maybe it's that new promotion at work, or the fact that your latest STD test came back completely negative. Regardless, it's common, maybe even easy, to be thankful for all of the good that comes our way.

But what about all of the bad that undoubtedly comes?

When something bad happens to us, such as a breakup or a layoff, it's typical to have self-doubt, possibly even anger or confusion as to why this setback has occurred. Questions like, "Am I a bad person?" or "Do I deserve this?" may even flood the mind. Yet, one can't help but wonder if we should take the good and bad elements of our lives and maybe be thankful for both?

Sure, bad things happen to bad people, but bad things can also happen to good people, too. Cue Elton John; because that, boys and girls, is the "Circle of Life." Further, when something good happens to a bad person, or even a good person (hell, even a close friend), it can sometimes be quite the task to be happy for them. Not that you don't want good things to happen to your friends and family, but it's only human nature to think, "When is it my turn?" You just have to have faith and patience (of which I hear is some sort of virtue) that your turn is coming... eventually. But first, you have to get through the rough patch(es).

Believe me, I'm not here to preach that everything happens (or doesn't happen) for a reason. That's just crazy talk! I mean, seriously, what is the logical reason behind the fact that I'm still not married to Bradley Cooper? That being said, I do think it's necessary to acknowledge those not-so-great moments that sporadically pop up and, yes, be thankful for them. After all, how can you truly appreciate the good without the bad?

Think about it. If you were born a multimillionaire (I yell at my parents at least once a month because I was not), got into the college of your dreams, landed your dream job, met Prince Charming, had two-point-five kids and were living "happily ever after" as you drive around in his-and-his Range Rovers, would you really be happy? Duh!

Of course you would! But, would you appreciate life and everything you have? Probably not if everything was handed to you, came easily to you or if you never had to struggle. Because, you would then expect good things to happen to you. It's those struggles that help define us, give us strength and ultimately allow us to grow as a person.

So, this Thanksgiving, if you're blessed enough to be sitting around a table with loved ones, yet your mind can only focus on present troubles, consider

a new approach: Be thankful for those troubles, the hard times and the struggles. Why? It's the hard times that help teach us to never take anything for granted. Remember too, that hard times never last for long and life has a way of always going on.

In the meantime, laugh, sing, smile and dance... do whatever you have to do to keep moving forward. Something else to know about hard times? There's usually not a damn thing you can do about them, except just wait for them to pass.

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