"If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with." Most of you will recognize these lyrics to a 1970 song written and sung by Steve Stills, of Crosby, Stills, and Nash fame.
I heard this song on the radio that other day, and like the theme song to the Brady Bunch, I can't seem to get it out of my head. The song irritates me for a number of reasons, one of which is the thought it instills in me that you're not with the one you love. Which seems sad.
But, the more I thought about those lyrics, I realized that there is some value in what Stills was trying to say. But, not in the romance department—in the thanksgiving department. This is the holiday season, and I see so many people tweeting and offering Facebook thanksgiving thoughts and wishes to each other. And then it occurred to me that none of our lives turned out exactly as we imagined, or even wished. I was going to be an astronaut, or a fighter pilot, or a four star general, or Indiana Jones. Most men will understand what I mean. We all grow up with images of cowboys in gunfights, or soldiers storming the enemy, and we identify with those ideals, and desire to live them. For women, I suppose it might be the Cinderella fairy tale wedding, complete with fairy dust and Prince Charming. I sincerely doubt that any of us got exactly what we imagined—and that most of us got something entirely different. After all, who plans on becoming a data input specialist or a paper salesman with Dunder Mifflin? To those who managed to live your dream, I offer you hearty congratulations.
But what about those who didn't get what they wanted? Those who ended up marrying their worst enemy? In those situations, I think Stills may have been on to something. Love the one your with. Your situation might not be ideal, but it is your situation. Moaning and crying about it won't change anything. You can't control many things, but you can control your attitude about your circumstances.
Take me for example. 14 years ago I was bankrupt. That wasn't one of my life goals, or, I suppose I should use the phrase, on my bucket list. Nonetheless, I had to stand before a judge and have him dissolve all of my debts because I failed to live responsibly with my finances. This isn't really something you want to write home about. Bragging about your shame never seems right.
But… Love the one your with.
I am thankful.
No matter how bad your situation is, it could always be worse. Maybe it's time to re-examine your life and find those things you can love. You might not be living your dreams, but that doesn't mean you can't. Maybe it's time to think about it this way: If you can't live the life you love, love the life you have.