Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You Think You’ve Got it Bad…

When things aren’t going your way, it’s time to think of those who have it way worse.  It’s a sure-fire way to cheer you up.  You could put up a horrible, heart-wrenching picture of a ravaged, filthy chicken with no feathers trapped in a cage being injected with antibiotics right above your bed.  Then you’ll get out of bed cheerful every morning, raring to go!  Okay, now I’m just being irreverent (or trying to turn you into a vegetarian).  But you know what I mean.  Taking a moment to focus on other creature's misfortunes can put our kvetching into perspective pretty quickly.

You don’t like your job?  There are people who can’t put food on the table because there are no jobs to be had.  You’ve got a throbbing headache? There are people on respirators dying who can’t afford to pay their medical bills and may have to delay their death by declaring bankruptcy first.  Your kids are annoying you or, god forbid, disappointing you with their performance?  Be thankful they’re not heroine-addled vagabonds living in a crack house.  (Apologies if any of these apply to you; I guess then you really SHOULD feel sorry for yourself.)

My point is simply it’s just so damn easy to get caught up in and grumpy about the minor inconveniences of life.  I can complain with the best of you, but when push comes to shove, all I have to do is turn on the news to cheer up or think about how the 1000s of “aunties” in Hong Kong had to leave the Philippines and their families behind and come work in a strange land for strangers because it is the only way their families can survive and have hope for a decent life.   

The fact that my youngest daughter’s report card is sure to say that she needs to do her homework (She’s only in year one!) and start caring more about her performance in school, and the fact that there is not one damn comfortable chair in this whole entire house to sit on (at least I have a house and a chair, right?), and the fact that my sweet husband doesn’t always get me the most romantic gifts (a fuchsia down jacket for Christmas!) is not cause for a Xanax or having a snit fit.

Me opening my fuchsia jacket, which I've come to love because it IS super warm and people can see me a mile off when I go walking at night.  It could prevent my death.
It just is what it is.  And it’s pretty damn great.  My daughter goes to what I think is the best school in Hong Kong (the one I teach at!) and she’s having the time of her life; I’ve got a really comfortable bed AND an awesome bathtub so I don’t need to sit much anyway (I’m lying on my bed with the laptop perched right on it’s advertised part as I write); and Don asks me every single day, “Have I told you how much I love you?” and if he hasn’t, he does.  Also, he’s getting really quite accomplished at giving gifts, especially when he consults with my friends in advance.

So, I guess the message for today is: shut up and stop complaining.  You’ve got it good.  Or at least I think you do.  I sure hope you do.  I know I do.

My goal for the rest of the day:

To be grateful
To not complain
To tell my husband how much I love him before he tells me
To floss


  1. Great piece, Leah! I have often said that gratitude is the answer to all my problems today. Thanks for this potent reminder!

  2. You are so right Leah! Most of those things that annoy us are just that, annoyances! It doesn't change the fundamental gifts I have in this life, my husband, my sons, and friends and family who love me very much.

    I have braces right now, so item number 4 on your list is a little difficult for m e right now...:)