Because I feel like I've been about a lot of doom and gloom lately (or maybe its just in my head that I'm all doomy and gloomy), I thought I'd roll out a new idea this morning called It Could Be Worse. The aim is to look at the bright side and uplift rather than focus on the bad and get down (the depressed kind, not the shake yer booty kind).
I'm not quite sure how it'll work but here goes.
It was sure cold last night and this morning but it could be worse, this photo could have been my commute this morning.
There's never enough money to make it through the month but it could be worse, I could have already lost my job, we could have already lost our house and had to move into my wife's parent's house in Pleasanton (where little is actually pleasant).
We live in an attached townhome in Watsonville, about 12 miles south of Aptos and 15 miles south of Santa Cruz. The predominant ethnic group in Watsonville is Mexican. The predominant leisure time activity is stabbing rival gang members or presumed rival gang members. To say I dislike this town would be an extreme understatement and the statement that I cannot wait to move away from here is an incredibly extreme understatement. But it could be worse, we could be living down in the heavily gang-infested areas of town where you really can't walk around outside for fear of an attack by angry moronic go-nowhere gang bangers fighting over a bowl of mud.
I've had a gnarly toothache for a couple of weeks now but it could be worse, I could be my mother's cousin and be dead now.
My job is basically a dead end, there's no place to advance to, there are no bonuses, there are virtually no perks whatsoever but it could be worse, I could be pumping gas in winter in Vermont (yes, I have done this before and yes, it is an awful job unless you like having lobster claw frozen hands).
My son was labeled "the bad kid" four days into kindergarten (!) by his teacher but it could be worse, he could actually BE "the bad kid" when he was really just going through a bit of an adjustment in going from a free form pre-school to a structured kinder class (I remember when kindergarten was all about finger painting and playing).
Last week has seen a major change in my work schedule. I'd been working at three sites during the regular work week and a fourth site on my own time. Now I'm assigned to one site, actually a department with staff at every school in the district, and I'm a little bummed out that I no longer get to see the staff and students that I've come to know over my years out in the field. But it could be worse, I know where I'll be most every day, I will be able to ride my bike to work often (when it isn't so flippin' cold) and I will, eventually, be able to leave my backpack and travel much, much more lightly as I'll have one central location to stash and store stuff instead of having to carry it all on my back.
The bottom line is that, though things may not be exactly how you want them, they can almost always get much, much worse. I am grateful for all that I do have in my life, I am grateful for the health of my wife and children, I am grateful for my job, I am grateful to be physically able to train and compete in triathlons and mountain bike races. I am grateful for a good many things in my life but it doesn't mean that I stop wanting more and better things for my family and myself. I'd love to ease some of the burden off my wife, I'd love to live in another house closer to our friends and locations we prefer up in the Aptos/Santa Cruz area. I'd love to have a newer car, I'd love to have a brand new Ibis Mojo and the time to ride it into the ground.
But that's not where we are/I am right now. Right now we are engaged in the struggle to get back into the black, to rebuild our nest egg, to build out my alternate revenue streams, to expand my wife's salon clientele, to convert our little revenue trickles from other sources into a raging torrent of income.
Life can always be worse until it ends. Part of me appreciates struggling in life because it makes victory sweeter, it makes success more rewarding and it lets me look back and see just how far we have come despite having so much further to go.