Last week over dinner, my husband and I came to a decision. Like many (most?) of us, we've been struggling under the weight of news that just keeps going from bad to worse. Everything seems to be getting more difficult. The bills keep growing. The income keeps shrinking. And we've been spending an increasing amount of time walking around feeling grim and worried, which only interferes with enjoying the good in our lives--and there is still a lot of good. So we decided that we need to find a way to turn this thing around. Oh, not the news. We can't change the economy. We can't stop the war. We can't keep natural disasters from happening or convince those hostile to our way of life to just live and let live. About the only thing we can control is our own attitude. That's the thing we need to turn around. Being worried and unhappy isn't going to improve anything. And maybe, just maybe, being confident and optimistic will. The power of positive thinking, right?
To that end, we have declared 2009 "The Year of Small Victories." We figure, there probably aren't going to be any monumental improvements this year, for us or anyone else. So we're focusing on the little things. And I do mean little. No bills in the mail today? Small victory. Found something you thought you were going to have to replace? Small victory. Come across that extra ball of discontinued yarn you needed to finish the second sleeve? Small victory. See how it works?
In the past week, we've identified and actively appreciated several small victories:
1. The fan for the rear air conditioner in our old SUV has been broken for a long time. Hoping to avoid taking it to the dealer (and paying an expensive repair bill), my husband found the motor hidden in the cargo area and fixed it himself. By whacking it with a rubber mallet. Works fine now. Small victory.
2. My son broke his glasses. Broke may be a bit of an understatement, actually. If you're familiar with the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes," you may remember a story line where Calvin borrows his dad's binoculars and breaks them. When Hobbes asks if they're just a little broken or really broken, Calvin hands him a box of dust. Replace "binoculars" with "glasses" and you've got the idea. The lenses, oddly, were still fine, but the frames were toast. And, naturally, the frames are discontinued and unavailable anywhere in the known universe. Yesterday, however, I located the last remaining pair--at a CostCo half an hour from my house. I raced over and got them, and voila!--new glasses at half the price, no waiting. Small victory.
3. I got the gas and electric bill by email this morning--and nearly had a coronary. It was high. I mean, it's always high, but this was stratospheric. And the weird thing was, most of the cost was gas, which I've barely used in the past month (we've had a crazy heat wave here). After a few minutes with my head between my knees, I got the hyperventilating under control and called the gas company. Maybe there's a gas leak? I suggested. Or a broken meter? Nope. Just a meter mis-read. New bill is on the way. Small victory.
Paying attention to these tiny victories may seem trivial, but it's made a noticeable difference in our mood and attitude. So, in the interests of spreading the joy, I'm having a little contest. Leave me a comment about a recent small victory in your own life, and I'll send one randomly-drawn winner a skein of sock yarn. It's not much, but hey--small victories, right?