Don’t you hate how much we hate rain? Especially when we have a monsoon season set in, like we have of late.

As you read this, I hope the forecast for the coming week has changed because, as I am writing, the outlook says it’s going to rain every single day. Enjoy today’s predicted sunshine, because it’s probably going away again tomorrow.

I try really hard to avoid complaining about things like weather, politics, half-time shows and other people, but sometimes things get the best of me. We tend to be fair weather fans at heart, and it’s a struggle to curtail the urge to kvetch on any number of topics. I’ve decided it’s just the way we are wired.

My intent in this philosophical waxing is not to complain about people complaining, but to shed light on how easily we go to the negative narrative, myself included, and to hopefully inspire us all to learn to receive what we are being given without judgment.

Every year when the Super Bowl rolls around, I don’t usually care about anything other than the commercials. My marketing bones love to watch the advertisements and theorize on their effectiveness; I’ve always loved speculating about that. But, I’m simply not much of a sports fan, and the pomp and circumstance of this most important game is generally lost on me. However, I will take any excuse to enjoy festive food and friends, so I always say yes when dear friends invite me over for the big event.

This year was especially festive for this crowd. The hosts and several of the folks in attendance are from the Kansas City area and they were duly thrilled with this rare opportunity to claim bragging rights. We were all on the edge of our seats for most of the night. The excitement was contagious, for sure.

The age range of the guests was from high-schoolers to grandparents and was fairly evenly split between male and female. When the halftime show hit, we enjoyed some friendly, though awkward, critique — with the greatest debate being whether the women in the room should, in fact, feel empowered by the performances. The expected jokes were made, but no one in the room seemed to be truly offended or put off by the show. It was all in the usual overdone vein to which we are accustomed, what else did we expect?

Boy, was I surprised the next day to see all of the bravado! OK, surprised isn’t really the word, because media of both the social and news varieties tend to lend themselves to bravado wherever the chance may lie, but I guess I just didn’t really see it coming on this topic. But there it was, armchair pundits deriding or defending the display, bold in their wisdom over how things should be done and the terrible impacts of the alternatives.

I’m not interested in “shoulding” on the topic with my thoughts on how the show might have gone. Have you ever heard that saying, “Don’t should on yourself”? When we go around deciding how things should be, what things should look like, how much rain should be falling from the sky, we get in the way of experiencing what is happening. I don’t know what a halftime show should look like, but I was amazed at how attached and soapbox-seeking so many folks were on the matter. There were clearly a lot of expectations on the subject, but all I could think was, does it really even matter?

We all have our ideals about how things should be, and when they go differently we are quick to complain. We are fans of our self-defined fair weather, by golly.

Unfortunately, we set these ideals about so many things in life, from politics to relationships to religion and more. We decide what we expect and when things go differently we don’t like it. The problem with this way of thinking is that once we get into complaining about what didn’t happen, we miss out on the potential positives of what did.

One of my recent favorite sayings is a simple one, “Expect nothing, appreciate everything.” If only I could live it out completely. Imagine being able to go into any situation or experience with no expectations for the outcome. We are so accustomed to imagining what might happen and what we want to happen and what we don’t want to happen, that it is hard to let go and simply live.

When we wake up every day hoping that the weather will be sunny and 70 degrees with a nice breeze and a few puffy clouds rolling across the horizon, we are only left with disappointment when there is rain or snow. But, there are so many things to love about less than fair weather. For example, it is the cold and windy weather that makes us feel like staying in and snuggling with our loved ones; it is the wet and thundery weather that pushes us to stay on our toes and dress accordingly.

The perceived negatives in life are the very things that allow us to adore our ideals when they rarely occur, and those supposed negatives have enjoyable qualities themselves, if we allow room for appreciating them. Be a fan of all that life has to offer, and of all that we each bring to the table. Appreciating all the different twists is what truly makes us alive!

Monica Sheppard is a freelance graphic designer, beekeeper, mother and community supporter living in Rome.

Recommended for you