Gumdrop Mountain

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Daily Beacon.

Dear Rich, if the world is virtual, why isn’t life an overwhelmingly awesome experience?

That’s a great question. Earlier in my life for instance, I went through many periods of distress, discomfort, despair, and dejection. If Existence was an app, I would have have given it 1 star and a nasty review. But life did get better. Currently I’d rate it 3 stars (out of 5) and leave a somewhat critical review. I’m hopeful that a future update will include the features I’ve requested and I’m optimistic that I could end up giving life 5 stars and a glowing review.

I don’t think life’s primary purpose is paradise — rather, life tries to obtain our full attention by any means necessary. Then once it has our attention, attempts to tell a compelling tale known as “Our Life”. Candyland and the Sweet-Tart Adventure isn’t all that compelling apparently or else we’d be living on Gumdrop Mountain. And as audience members to this pageantry, perhaps we enter with certain expectations and life plays to whatever excites us.

I think when we judge life harshly, it’s like tasting a cake early on while the ingredients are still being mixed in — of course it’s going to taste bad — but just wait, find a pleasant way to amuse yourself while it’s prepped, and appreciate the messy effort involved with creating a delicious treat. Oftentimes it’s the attitude we maintain, rather than the specific circumstances, that makes for an awesome experience. If we take life lightheartedly, any event can become a source of amusement.

Let’s not forget that like any app, life might be riddled with bugs. Stuff will go wrong, quirks will annoy, but ultimately the app exists for the benefit of the user — and overall it’s a decent app that evokes excitement from everyone that plays. But like many technical issues, maybe much of what we don’t like boils down to operator error. It’s possible that the odd annoying calamities we suffer are self-inflicted.

For instance, if we take life too seriously and cause ourselves endless stress, we may succumb to stress-induced ailments. Or perhaps we maintain strict standards and punish ourselves whenever we disobey them. For example, maybe a digestive issue follows an indulgent eating spree because we believe ourselves in need of disciplinary action. So essentially, we receive an injury whenever we perform a task we believe we shouldn’t have done — this injury is self-imposed, not a natural consequence of life.

So there you go dear reader, that’s why life isn’t overwhelmingly awesome: you have a bad attitude and you keep hitting yourself. If you do want an overwhelmingly awesome experience, you’ll need to trust in the goodness of life and develop a lighthearted approach in which you stop concocting arbitrary rules. Perceive life not as a solemn affair, but a merry ball held for the benefit all. Stop criticizing, stop arguing rightness — instead, embrace what’s pleasant, practice cheerfulness at all occasions, seek to expand your acceptance and tolerance until fear and disgust evaporate before your eyes. Look for awesomeness and you just might find it.

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