Grateful For First World Problems

Between Christmas and New Year's, my dryer stopped heating up, my water heater sprung a leak in the middle of the night, my toaster decided to only heat one side of the bread, the cold water faucet in my bathroom broke and I spend $300 on tickets to see my Green Bay Packers get demolished by the Arizona Cardinals.

To say things weren't going my way was a bit of an understatement, in my opinion.

Fortunately, I was reading the perfect book for my doomsday week.

A friend whom I consider to be even more negative than I am said that this book had made a positive impact on her attitude. The author tells her story in the first person as she spends a year trying to be more grateful. She cites a great deal of research on what makes us grateful and how it benefits our health and mental wellbeing.

I used her techniques to reframe what was going on and it made me feel so much better.

Instead of bemoaning the expense and inconvenience of having to buy major appliances right after Christmas gift giving, I thought about how lucky I was to have the resources to replace them at that very moment.

Instead of being unhappy about the water heater starting to leak in the middle of the night, I considered how lucky I was that my cat woke me up by patting my face with his very wet paw.

The biggest difficulty about replacing the toaster with another $20 one from Target was spending a few days finding the Goldilocks setting.

My Uncle Bill was visiting from Wisconsin so he fixed my sink and my only effort was spending $10 for the parts and making visits to two different hardware stores.

The $300 I spent on game tickets was paid for out of a 50/50 jackpot win where my $60 investment paid off with a $320 win so the tickets netted out to a $40 expense.

Because I'm not a complete Pollyanna (and the book doesn't say you should be), I can't reframe my team's loss in a positive manner. A little bit of my soul was crushed each time Aaron Rodgers was sacked. Sigh.

Looking at my life, it's easy to say "Of course you should be grateful! You have a job you enjoy that pays you well, your immediate family is in good health and nearby and you have a good relationship with them, you have oodles of friends and you get to travel all over, all the time."

All that's true but I sometimes need a kick in the pants to remember it. To reinforce the thought, I went to Ted to find a talk. And, I found a great one!

Listen to this woman as she talks about events and situations that are unfathomable to many of us and how she isn't bitter and is, indeed, grateful. It is a very powerful message.

January was my turn to host our monthly Directors/Senior Managers Meeting. I told my story of my travails and how the book had made me realize how grateful I was that I could deal with life's temporary lemons.

I then showed them the video. You could have heard the literal pin drop. Well, if it had dropped on a table and not the carpet.

I closed out with these words, "First world problems, let's be grateful we have them."


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