We’re all bozos on the bus, so we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride. – Wavy Gravy
This quote is found in Elizabeth Lesser’s book, Broken Open. I love the statement because it provides such a sense of relief. So often, we tell ourselves the story that we are the only bozo, alone on the bus. This is how it goes:
We all walk around trying so hard to uphold a certain image. When someone asks, “How are you,” you automatically say “Great” even if you’re not. Granted, there are occasions where there is not enough time to go into it. But even with friends, are we afraid to share that we regret a major decision, wish our lives were different, have kids or dogs who bite, worry about aging, and fear that we won’t have enough money? Not only is this exhausting, but it keeps us from connecting with each other. It keeps us in our story of the lone bozo. We are providing each other with evidence for our own lonely autobiographies. On the other hand, have you had someone tell you something that was less than perfect in her life, to find that it made you feel normal and relieved? The other day, a woman (who is beautiful, dresses cuter than anyone I know, and drives the car of my dreams) told me that she and her husband ran out of money in the middle of remodeling their house. Wow, cool, I thought. I felt so relieved after hearing that! But why? Well, I’ll tell you one reason: It’s because my thoughts changed (I am going to be talking a lot about changing thoughts in future posts; it’s one of the secrets to happiness). Suddenly, my story that I am the only one with a broken house (and here's the key: that, therefore, I must not be good enough, smart enough, rich enough, perfect enough…)was shattered. Suddenly, there is no shame, and therefore no pain, because I am not alone. Apparently, even beautiful, seemingly perfect people have broken houses and broken parts of their lives. Perhaps this is why our culture is obsessed with celebrities who have gone fat, crazy, broke, or loveless. These cases remind us that we are all more alike than we are different and comparing our perceived differences (which probably don't even exist) only leads to pain. Whether you’re a celebrity in Hollywood, or a cattle herder in Kenya, when it comes to the important things that make us human, we are all the same. We all make mistakes, feel joy and pain, and need connection. And we’re all bozos (What a relief; We thought we had to be perfect)! So just sit back, relax, and enjoy. We are all exactly where we need to be.