Mastering the art of wearing rose-colored glasses, while juggling a glass that’s half full, in a perfectly imperfect world
by Carolyn Wyler
For those of you who don’t know me, let me begin by telling you a bit about myself. I live in a five-bedroom, two story, 4,000 square-foot home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Every morning I get up at 5 am, go out for my morning jog along the beach, come back home, jump in my heated indoor swimming pool and do several laps before I make breakfast for my husband and 2.5 children. When breakfast is ready I go up to the kids’ rooms (which are sparkling clean as they happily clean them every night) to wake them up with a kiss. They look up at me and smile and say “I love you mom” and climb out of bed without complaints, get dressed and come down for breakfast. We all sit at the table eating, laughing and sharing stories.
After everyone has finished, they take their plates to the sink, rinse them off and place them in the dishwasher. The children grab their backpacks, give me a hug and kiss and run out the door to catch the school bus. My 5’10, dark haired, incredibly handsome husband (who did a bit of modeling, but that was B.M. — before marriage) grabs his briefcase, gives me a big kiss, tells me how beautiful I look this morning in my dress and heels and my red rosy glasses and then gets into his helicopter and flies off to work at his privately owned, successful law firm.
Damn, I had my rose colored glasses on again! I had promised myself that I was going to throw them away, but when it came to trying to toss them in the trash, my hands got all shaky, perspiration ran down from my forehead and my breathing and heart rate became rapid. Don’t get me wrong: I love those glasses and they make me look super hot! It’s just that I feel that I might be a teensy bit addicted to them at times. Oh hell, I’ll be honest: I need to sign up for rose-colored glasses addiction meetings.
I reach up and remove them and for a moment the room is blurry as I try to focus on my surroundings. Clothes and toys are scattered about the room, the kitchen table is covered with dishes, the walls of the 4000 square foot home close in and it downsizes to something significantly smaller. The ocean outside the living room window evaporates into a small puddle from the rain the night before and I see that the youngest child has left out his remote control helicopter in the driveway again where it’s sure to get run over when his dad returns from his job as a janitor and pulls up the driveway in his 1985 Ford Pinto. I walk by a hall picture and … holy flying blue spaghetti balls batman, who is that woman on the wall and why is she mimicking my every move? The picture is in fact a mirror and shows a woman at least 20 years older and 20 lbs. heavier than I was. Her hair is matted up in clumps and she was wearing a baggy a t-shirt and ratty old sweat pants.
I reach for my glasses and start to place them back over my eyes again, but stop. I will resist and will not put them on today.
Just for today, I will look at the world as it is and not as I believe it should be.
You’ve probably deciphered by now that I don’t really live in a house by the ocean. I don’t cook my family breakfast every morning. My house is not always sparkling clean. I don’t have 2.5 children and you will rarely, if ever find me in heels. The part about my husband being a model in a previous life however — totally true, just ask him. I definitely don’t live in my perfect dream world, but there are days and times I feel like I’m in a perfectly imperfect dream world.
If I were to take a poll of 100 people on what their perfect world would be, there would most certainly be some common denominators such as peace, happiness, love, etc., but most likely there would be 100 different notions on how they would define their perfect world, how they would obtain it and how they would choose to decorate it.
I look around at those who I consider to have the perfect life. With my glasses on they look as if they have it all: nice home, car, education, perfect kids. Inevitably when I take a closer look without my glasses I see imperfections; relationship difficulties in some, legal problems, health issues, gambling, alcohol, drug addictions, depression, or money problems in others.
I find myself being caught in the middle of a battle of optimism versus pessimism, or as my husband calls it, being a realist, but I believe a more appropriate term to use would be an optimistic-pessimist. The focus on just one mindset can be risky, not to mention at times draining, mostly to those who have to endure the ramblings of either one. Without my rose colored glasses, I might lose the battle to pessimism and for that reason I choose to not to totally discard them.
In my perfectly imperfect world, when I become so overwhelmed and I just want to scream, yell, beat my head against a wall or make a mad escape out the closest door, I reach for my rose colored glasses while sipping on a glass of Starbucks hot chocolate that’s half full. I hang out for a while in my perfect world until I feel refreshed and ready to take off my glasses and face the real world. I will never have that surreal perfect world I dream about, but I will continue to have practically perfect places, times and moments.