Occasionally, I get mired in something. And for the life of me I can’t understand why.

I’m a fairly sensible person. I know it sometimes doesn’t appear to be that way, but I am thrifty, responsible and I don’t hesitate about helping others. I’ve been late for work twice in 25 years. The car I drive is 10 years old and I change the oil every 2000 miles. I’m no Girl Scout: I don’t make my bed every day. (I use the excuse, “I’m letting it air out…”) And I go to lunch more often than I should. When I’m not working, at a business meeting or have to crawl into an evening gown, I dress like a ten year-old kid: Jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers. But in the overall, I pay my bills on time and I have no debt so yeah, sensible would be a fairly accurate word for me.

Occasionally I get a hair up my keester about something and have to have it, or have to do it,or have to go there. But that is probably because the little twisted sister inside my head is telling me I need to do it for a reason.

Take going to Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab. I don’t know, but I just got this crazy idea I wanted to go and do the same sort of thing I did at the Cincinnati Zoo. So with some help, I made it happen. And it was wonderful. This was a whim, and the whim turned into an idea, and the idea became reality. So I tend to pay attention to the twisted sister in my head.

Bringing Parker home was an impulse decision 20-plus years in the making. Meaning, I had been putting off having a parrot for that long until I thought I was in a position to handle it. But, to be honest, one day I didn’t have an African Grey. The next day I did.  I didn’t know why I needed to do that at the time. Now of course I do. I try and go into every situation, every relationship, every day in my life with an open mind and the intent that maybe, if I pay attention, I’ll learn something. Not every situation is purposeful. Sometimes you see and learn the best stuff by doing a little meandering.

But there were times in my life when I end up in a situation where I got the crappy end of the stick and walked away from it not knowing what in the hell I was supposed to get out of it. Why am I here? What in God’s name am I supposed to learn from this? 

And there have been times when I walked away empty-handed. I didn’t learn a thing.  I know that you know what I’m talking about because I don’t think there’s a person alive that this hasn’t happened to. You keep thinking, “Well, that was a waste of time.” Or, “What was the point of that?”

It took me years to figure it out. And when I did, it was like a smack in the face. It just hit me.

This revelation was not unlike coming home for 20 years from trips to all over the place and something finally dawned on me.

I’d crawl out of my uniform, look down and there were bruises on the outer part of both thighs. I never remembered how I got them, don’t remember crashing into anything, tripping or any real serious pain. Where did they come from? How did I get them? This went on for nearly two decades. Until it finally hit me what was hitting me in the thighs to cause those bruises: Elbows. Passengers elbows on the plane hanging over the armrests. I’d be walking up the aisle and just as I’d walk by, someone would stick their elbow out. Not on purpose mind you, but it happened all the time and I’d end up with blue polka dots on my legs. I just never connected the two because by the time the bruise showed up and I noticed, it was two days later and I didn’t remember it.  Okay, that’s my “example.”

Here was my smack in the face: I wasn’t always in a situation to come away with anything.

I wasn’t supposed to learn a damned thing. I wasn’t there to walk away rewarded with understanding anything. That wasn’t why I was there. It wasn’t about me. The other person was there to learn something. Maybe not necessarily from me, but from the situation. Sometimes people hurt you. And you think they walked away from it not caring. I don’t think that’s always necessarily the case. I think occasionally we get into situations and the thing people learn is, “Don’t do that.”

In the parrot world, there are mini-dramas going on all the time. Sometimes there are HUGE dramas. But mostly there are little things going on all over the place: Misunderstandings. Little disagreements. Big disagreements. Enormous philosophical differences. Seismic shifts in attitude. Inability to see another person’s point of view. Hurt feelings. Name calling. You know what I’m talking about. It goes on constantly.

I feel the drop in ratings and ultimate cancellation of most of the daytime soap operas is due to all of the dramas that go on over at Facebook. Who the hell needs “Pine Falls” when you’ve got FB?

So, perhaps Im a bit “Pollyanna” about life, but I like to think that every moment in life has something in it that helps us understand things with a bit more clarity. I know that when I’ve screwed up, I always think, “Well, I’ll never do that again…”

And I usually don’t. Even if it means not getting involved with people I know make me uncomfortable or go somewhere where I realize it’s probably not the best place to be at that moment. You develop a sixth sense on stuff like that as you go along in life. So, don’t get frustrated if you think there is no point to something. Because it’s not all about us all the time.

Remember, if  you are somewhere in the physical world or in a cyber-situation and you look at it and think, “What’s the point? Because I haven’t gained a thing.”

Well, that was probably because the other person was very busy gaining something. Life isn’t always about learning. Sometimes it’s about teaching. And that takes patience. I guess I’ll keep trying to practice this.