Mark wasn't really what you'd call the life and soul of the party; he didn't walk around telling jokes or offering words of encouragement to the people he met as he went through life. For in reality, he'd be the very last person you'd ever expect to give a second thought or a warm smile to the people he worked or lived alongside. Wrapped up as he was in the failings and missed opportunities of his past.
All the same, each year around the 4th of July he'd make his way back to his home town in Ohio to catch up with the latest goings on in town. He never really enjoyed the long trip back as it always left him sick to his stomach and with a terrible hangover of unhappiness for days on end, but that was a small price to pay for an invite to the town's annual 'Pity Party' - full of people just like himself.
No one was ever there to meet him at the airport upon arrival, or to drive him into town once he got there. People were always meant to make their own way along to the 'Pity Party' but thankfully no one was ever late as they were all so eager to get there before the blame game started. Another thing Mark was sure of; was that it seemed to grow larger and more popular each time he made the long trip back.
No small surprise I guess, given the increasing number of people that were eager to get their hands on a ticket to the most happening party in town. Where no stone was left unturned, and each past deed was cut up and dissected with scientific precision. Such was the need for proof conclusive by those in attendance that the whole world was set against them. After all, how else could they walk around with the weight of the world on their shoulders or acquire that much sought after bucket load of excuses for giving up on life at the earliest opportunity available to them?
Take the 'DONE' family for example, with their children: 'SHOULD HAVE'; 'WOULD HAVE' and 'COULD HAVE'. Oh the stories they could regale you with about how different life would be IF ONLY they had followed through on their thoughts and actions' at the time. Rather than take the easy way out and do nothing. What they failed to realize of course was the simple fact that it was ALWAYS far better to try something and fail than try nothing and succeed? Now it seemed all was lost! But they didn't seem to mind too much, for despite their obvious regret, and it WAS obvious for all to see, it seemed they were more in demand than ever these days! For on the face of things most people would rather sit back and watch life pass them by than actually march in the parade.
Then there was the town's favourite family 'THE OPPORTUNITIES' with their two sons 'MISSED' and 'LOST'. They were always a firm favorite with the ladies. Just as the 'SHATTERED DREAMS' family were a big hit with the guys in attendance. You know how so and so stole their promotion, dream girl and the house of their dreams simply because they fell asleep on their own watch and let the world drift on past them a lot quicker than they ever thought it would. Oblivious to the fact that you actually have to participate fully in anything you do if you ever want to stand a chance of winning at anything of any merit. I mean, after all, no one wins the lottery without first buying a ticket.
Of course no pity party would quite be complete without the latest gossip about the 'IT'S THEIR FAULT' family! Let's face it; more wrongdoings have been attributed to them over the years than any other family in town. After all, it's always easier to blame other people for your own failings than it is to step up to the plate and accept responsibility for your actions or lack thereof. But that's all part and parcel of the 'Pity Party' crowd. Thank God they've got their good friends 'DON'T BLAME ME' and 'I COULDN'T HELP IT' to rely on at such times as that. After all, that's what friends are for is it not?
The saddest part of all though; was the knowledge that no RSVP was ever required for the 'Pity Party' itself. Attendance was not compulsory and anyone who would rather hang out with the 'FORGIVE and FORGET' crowd; or the 'TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY' clan; were always more than welcome to do so. More so since that's where the siblings of the 'POSITIVE PERSONALITIES' and 'LET ME HELP YOU WITH THAT' families all hang out. Blessed and protected as it were by the 'YES I CAN' and 'LET ME TRY AGAIN' cheering committees.
Best of all, they tend to make a point of removing all heavy baggage you might unnecessarily be carrying around with you as soon as they greet you and are ever eager to lighten your load in any way they can. For they know all too well that nothing good ever came from living in the past. So please take the time to politely remind yourself that yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and right now is a gift, that's why it's called the present!
Have a wonderful day full of pleasant possibilities, heaps of hopefulness, lots of laughter and lorry loads of love. After all, you deserve no less!
(C) Charles Anthony McFaulds 2010
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