Saturday afternoon, my husband and I were in a minor fender bender. We weren’t hurt, the damage to our car is minimal, and the other driver’s insurance should cover the repair. While we waited for the police to arrive, my thoughts took the following turn: “Great. Here’s one more poopy thing happening to me this year. 2012 is shaping up just as poorly as 2011. What is going to happen next?”
I sat in my car, unhurt, watching the breeze blow Spanish moss on the oak trees while white fluffy clouds scudded across a blue sky, thinking poor, pitiful me thoughts. That was bad enough, but what bothered me most was the mindset I seem to have fallen into: being on the lookout for catastrophe. I don’t deny that bad things do happen, but this expecting catastrophe mindset is draining happiness out of my life, making me cringe and cower as I face each day, as if waiting for blows to fall. That’s not how I want to live!
A friend and I have an ongoing joke about “fresh hells”—as in “What fresh hell is this?” At least, it started as a joke, a way to lighten up when something bad happened, as bad things do from time to time. We use the image and the phrase to help us laugh when we want to cry, and as a shorthand for some unwanted and un-looked for experiences. I don’t want necessarily to give up this joke, but maybe it’s time to add a positive version? Fresh heaven, perhaps?
Really, I’m grateful for my life, and the many beautiful things in it. Perhaps it’s time to go back to making lists of things I’m grateful for and things that make me happy. I believe we mostly find what we’re looking for, what we expect, and if my expectations are that things will be happy and good, they will be more likely to end up that way.