So much of what motivates our actions on a daily basis is dictated by the filters of our personal perspectives and circumstances. Challenges we face might inconvenience or frustrate us, but in the grand scheme of things, most of our bad days are relatively benign.
What we consider a bad situation can be so much worse.
The case in point that drove the thought home to me is a recent experience involving the two vehicles used by my other half, Becca, and me. Both cars decided to fail at the same time.
The way it happened was a bit frustrating, too.
Ever since Becca began her last job at City Hall, she walks to work and has had little need to use her vehicle. Her car was usable but needed a new muffler and some cosmetic work.
For most of our needs, we used my car. Until just over a week ago.
When Becca tried to start my car she found the battery was dead. I figured it just needed to be jump started. We used her car to jump mine and let it run a while to charge. After testing it to make sure it started when I turned it off, then back on, I went on with my day at home.
A couple of hours later, I had to use my car to drive to a meeting of the writers’ group I facilitate. I went out to the car a little bit earlier than usual, just in case. Turns out that was the right decision. My car battery was dead again.
Though we were able to jump it and get it running once more, Becca and I worried it wouldn’t start after it was left parked while I was at the two-hour meeting. I decided to take her car.
After all that, when I left my meeting and got in Becca’s car, the engine would not turn over. I called Becca at home to have her check if my car would start. No such luck.
Both cars were dead.
Ultimately, we got home safely, thanks to a neighbor. And eventually I got my vehicle towed to have it serviced. It is running. Becca’s car is still a work in progress.
The point is, throughout the experience I realized how fortunate I was and still am.
I even verbalized this to Becca.
After all, we were home when my car died. And I was close to home when Becca’s car died. Either of us could have been somewhere more remote, in conditions much worse. I am not working outside the house, so I don’t have the extra stress of worrying about getting to the office. To even have two vehicles is fortunate. I have two healthy legs to walk.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t help but feel fortunate. Recognizing what I have in my life rather than bemoaning what I don’t is the real reason to be thankful.