The Norman Rockwell Illusion

Holidays are supposed to be a joy-filled, happy time with friends and family. Day after day of sparkling euphoria, right?! Don’t we all long for the Norman Rockwell experience? What if after the timeless moments are captured, we showed each other what really goes on—the good, the bad and the ugly, and also the ordinary? I found an interesting book review in the New York Times written in 2013 for a biography written about Norman Rockwell. Reading that and exploring a few other search results for ‘Norman Rockwell,’ I quickly learned that he also did not live the “Norman Rockwell” experience.

I’ve spent many days thinking if I had just come from a “normal” family, my life would have been so much better. I grew up believing that what I saw in Norman Rockwell illustrations really existed in most other homes but mine. As an adult now, I know the truth. No one has it good all the time, and no one has it bad all the time. And sometimes, the ordinary moments are the best ones of all. Times like this morning, when my husband and I cuddled on the couch enjoying the glowing Christmas tree at dawn, as he drank his coffee before getting ready for work. Or letting my son show me how swift he can handle his car on back roads, making a night run to the grocery store for milk and bananas, with music blaring from the speakers. And enjoying a peaceful, quiet morning with my furry children, looking out into the majesty of nature surrounding me. Those are the moments I live for now.

And most of the time, I’ve stopped the comparison game. Comparing my life to others is a fast road to discontentment and “missing the gifts.” In the recovery world, we often hear, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” We only see what “they” let us see anyway. In a thriving social-media-filled world, it often looks like most everyone is living the good life. Rarely can we see the aches in their hearts or the depths of loneliness common to us all. Common to us all—yes, even I have my bad days too, where I’m struggling with “Finding the Gift.” I know those days will pass and I personally choose not to use my social media platforms to air my fleeting moments of lost perspective, but I do share those hard days with those closest to me.

Living a life of “Finding the Gift” to me means truly believing everything, everything is working for my good. Even when it doesn’t seem like it. My best use of energy is always spent re-directing my thoughts to what is going well and celebrating true treasure, the unexpected, ordinary moments of real bliss. Happy Holidays and may your ordinary moments bring you great joy! If you are in Nashville today, please come join me at BookManBookWoman in Hillsboro Village for a Finding the Gift book discussion and signing event from 12-2 p.m. .

P.S. If you have a Finding the Gift story, I want to hear it and so does the rest of our FTG community! Please send me a message through my “contact Angela” tab. Not an FTG member? Look for the orange box to the right and sign up! I’ll send you a free eBook immediately, Ten Secrets to Finding the Gift!

P.P.S. If you are looking for a special gift for someone, check out the reviews on Amazon from those who have been touched by reading Finding the Gift.

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