Blargh: A Little Story of Silver Linings

I spent all morning really excited to treat myself to working out and about in the world today. Money's quite tight (taking a month off to walk over mountains'll do that to the old bank account), and working from home has been the name of the game lately. But today I decided to treat myself and buy a little brunch from a cafe downtown, take it to the coffee shop next door, and hunker down to write. So here I am, situated with my laptop, a bite to eat, and an enormous coffee. And, damn, no noise-cancelling headphones. Hrm. Well, whatever, no need to be fussy, it certainly won't kill me to tune out noise on my own for a bit.

Alright, let's get to work.

Lordy, this tables wobbles more than a freaking weeble. Let's just fix that real quick.

Problem solved. Time for some blog-a-loggin'.

Is this the world's blandest cup of soup? I'm pretty sure this is the world's blandest cup of soup.

And this sandwich is...sad. Just sad. Why can't non-vegans seem to make decent vegan food? What is that?

Whatever, I have coffee, and what else do I REALLY need?

For that guy to stop talking loudly on his phone about the Cubs. That is what I need.

Blah, FOCUS, and let's type up that blog post I started in my journal a couple of days ago. Except...this is not that journal. The one I brought is a blank journal. Blargh.

Well. Now what? I could pack it in and head home to write back there, instead, and I could bemoan the fact that my little treat turned out to be a bland and irritating waste of time and money. But you know what? NOPE. I don't wanna do that, THAT just sounds like a great way get cranky and whiney. Let's pivot, instead. Let's Pollyanna this bitch. Let's find a silver lining in each of these annoyances:

1) Forgotten Headphones: Well, loud Cub fan man is gone, and now Lauryn Hill is playing, so that's a silver lining for sure. Plus I do looove the sound of a hissing espresso machine. And now a live recording of Erykah Badu has come on! Okay, this is DEFINITELY working out for the best. I feel super glad I forgot my earbuds.

2) Wobbly Table: I mean, already a non-issue, since I've fixed it. But, I actually happen to love what the wobble represents: this coffee shop is in an old building, with ornate tin ceilings and old, warped and wavy floors. I love that my city is fairly old, and we have awesome, funky, sometimes gnarly architecture.

3) Crappy Vegan Food: Alright, this one is a bit of a big, fat bummer. I hate wasting money on bad food, and I especially hate feeling so unrepresented in restaurants that make a big deal out of being vegan friendly. But this is a silver lining I'm used to looking for, and I stand by it: each time I'm disappointed by the vegan options available, it just reminds me that the food I make is pretty dang good, and there is a sizable gap in the market for solid vegan cooking, which I'd like to help fill in whatever ways I can.

4) I have coffee. This isn't a problem in need of positive spin, I just like stating it. Eternal silver lining, the existence of this beautiful beverage.

5) Wrong Journal: It'd be pretty easy to lean into a positives-abound attitude and go on about the potential of a blank journal and how that's a blessing, etc. But I don't need to work that hard at it to get a positive here. I wrote this bizarre little post because my book of half-written blogs and entries is back at home, and it's been really quite enjoyable watching my mood completely turn around as I write about it.

Aaaand, voila! I'm not cranky anymore, in fact I'm in a pretty cheery mood now. It just goes to show that if you look for things to get fussy about, you'll find them, and if you look for things that please you, you'll find those, too. It's so in our hands to control our outlook and as a result, our mood.

Now, obviously today was not a day with any legitimate problems. I realize that when it comes to bigger stressors and deeper problems lifting your mood is not achieved with a cup of coffee and a great song on the radio. But, honestly, it helps. Plus, more often than not, when we find ourselves getting upset and stressed things SEEM bigger and more drastic than they truly are, and they appear that way because we've let ourselves get downtrodden by the silly, smaller annoyances and obstacles. By the time it comes to a real problem, we've spent too much energy and/or we've let ourselves get so low and irritated that it's difficult to take stuff in stride. So the next time you can feel yourself start tipping into that low mood, try to take a step back, and look at what's causing it. Are your irritants serious? Really? Is there any way to find good things in the bad, and opportunities lurking in the obstacles? They may be small and silly silver linings, but what else would you expect from a small and silly problem? Besides, small and silly silver linings have a way of adding up.

And you know what, sometimes stepping back and reassessing doesn't work. Sometimes it just makes you want to curse Pollyanna and her eternal optimism. That's alright. Sometimes you just have to let yourself be a grouch for a little while. Feel it, savor it, and let it pass. Maybe drink a cup of good coffee. And then play some Erykah Badu.

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