We hear phrases like “count your blessings” and “don’t take your health for granted” all the time. And while these are well-intentioned statements, the fact remains we cannot spend all our time thinking about how, even when things are bad, it could be worse and how good we may have it in comparison to others. We simply would get nothing done during the day if we utilized our time in a constant state of reflection and comparison. However, it is good to try and do this as often as one can and still be able to function normally.
This past weekend I was involved in a car accident. I barely had time to react to someone turning in front of me until the next thing I knew air bags had deployed, my windshield was shattered and my body was aching. I have not had the easiest past two weeks. I know they were not the worst two weeks one could have but even knowing that did not make the fact that they were hard on me specifically all that much better. Beginning with an illness in the family and then bringing it right home to my dashboard, the realities befalling me seemed greater than larger tragedies far away.
When it appeared I wasn’t too badly hurt I thought how lucky I am. When you define a great deal of what you do by forward active motion, the thought of losing that motion can be devastating. Everyone is happy that they don’t get hurt in an accident, naturally. I searched frantically for my cell phone even though I had no idea who I was going to call. I could tell immediately that no bones were sticking out. First check was done and I was still able to function.
Next, finding out everyone else seemed to be perfectly fine helped ease my own pain a little. My car look crumpled and disgusting and so pathetic, but I was not injured. I had walked away. Life is basically comprised of successes that are really defined about whether or not you walk away from the situation unharmed. Whether it is a marathon, a business meeting, an accident or whatever, if you were able to walk away, then you definitely got off better than you could have.
Should we see every situation as such? No. It would be exhausting and soon even the scariest of moments would rank right with chewing gum and not choking. Yet we should try and take stock of our situation as often as we can, even if it is for a quick second. Our inner psyche is still going to say “well, sure the starving children in the world have it worse than we do, but I wanted to PR by two minutes in this race, not just 90 seconds!” It is OK to listen to that voice sometimes. Most of the time, however, it is better to nod, take it in and realize that you probably have it pretty good.