Reverb 10: Wisdom

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

So, this is going to sound really lame. But here goes.

I’ve always been a bit of a cynic. A skeptic. A realist. A pessimist. Hard, if you like. The kind of person who sees a glass as half-empty (and I still do, because half-full sounds ridiculous and the two f-sounds in a row are icky to articulate).

These days, I like to think of myself as a dreamer/realist. If pushed, I’d describe it as hoping for the best, but planning – always – for the worst.

Last year presented me with a lot of challenges. It was by far the hardest single year of my life. I lived in a bad neighbourhood, in a damp, mouldy house, was the victim of crime, lived with lame flatmates including a filthy, lazy pig who still owes me nearly $1000, was completing my final year as a journalism major with a full courseload and juggling my part-time job with other side hustles, and dealing with an unemployed partner. A frigging AWESOME combination. Thanks, life.

I was frequently in tears. I was perpetually sleep deprived, stressed out to the point of snapping and had several mini breakdowns and nearly ended my relationship. In short, I was a mess, really, and I felt very, very sorry for myself.

The dark passed, eventually. Today we live alone in a dry and warm, if small, apartment. I have my piece of paper and we’re both gainfully employed. I am blessed. And I know it.

The best decision I made this year was to be grateful. To count my blessings. To look on the bright side a little more often, to open my eyes to the silver lining. To stop leaving that responsibility to T all the time. To be a more generally positive, cheerful person, one who’s pleasant to be around more often than not.

You know what sparked this? (This is where the embarrassing bit comes in.) I read The Secret at the start of the year. Whether or not you believe in it – and I don’t really – the most valuable lesson I learned was to simply cultivate gratitude. Starting off the day in the right frame of mind can really make a difference. I appreciate my health, my job, my partner and everything else in my life.

Shit happens. It’s true.

But a little perspective here: I may be hungry sometimes, but I know where my next meal is coming from. I may be cold, a lot, but I have a heater, blankets, warm clothes and a boyfriend with excellent circulation.

I rarely feel sorry for myself these days. I often whine that I need more hours in the day, but that’s because I’m blessed with opportunities to make more money (hello travel fund!), with hobbies and interests, with friends.

I am content for the most part on a day-to-day basis.

I knew it was the best decision ever when I came home one day and T asked: “What’s wrong? You’re not your cheerful self today.”

Nobody had ever said that to me before.

14 thoughts on “Reverb 10: Wisdom

  • Reply Lesley December 11, 2010 at 15:25

    Good attitude! 😉 I’ve always been a bit of a cynic myself… maybe even jaded. If someone said I wasn’t my cheery self today they’d probably be saying it sarcastically! But, attitude is huge and a little goes a long way so I’m working on letting myself be a little bit more cheery these days! I’m glad it’s working out for you 🙂

  • Reply amanda December 11, 2010 at 15:25

    This is so great – I absolutely need to follow in your footsteps!

  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair December 11, 2010 at 16:23

    Great attitude adjustment! I am the opposite – I’m the one always searching out the positive and seeing the light. When my friends are feeling sorry for themselves I am an expert at pointing out the positive light or giving the benefit of the doubt. I try *not* to feel sorry for myself but it happens to the best of us.

    I saw a quote on a blog around Thanksgiving and it’s really stuck with me. It was something (though not word-for-word) like this: If you have a roof over your head, food on your table and clothes on your back you are richer than 75% of the world.

    That really struck a chord for me. We should be SO grateful for all that we have in our first-world countries.

    Great post lady! XO

  • Reply Tasha December 11, 2010 at 18:21

    I love your post. I was starting to be grateful again just by reading it. I need to learn how to trust my husband when he says “everything will work out.” It can be hard when I can’t see any way things would work while in the middle of something that isn’t. Cheers to you and T!

  • Reply Carlee Mallard December 11, 2010 at 18:23

    Gaaaawd. Don’t you just surprise yourself sometimes? A year ago I totally felt sorry for myself a lot too. People probably thought I was negative a lot or depressed or something…. now that my environment has improved a lot people are noticing a change in my attitude. I didn’t consciously acknowledge it, it just sort of happened.

    I’m glad things eventually worked out for you! This is like a happy ending of a movie. 🙂

  • Reply youngandthrifty December 11, 2010 at 21:03

    Fantastic attitude- we should all go through life like that- with gratitude…

    it’s so easy to feel sorry for yourself and feel anger, but ultimately even though we have no control over what happens to us in life, we have no control if we become disabled, or become bankrupt (maybe a little control), but we DO have control over our thoughts (unless you had dementia), and to have thoughts that are pure and without anger or resentment is a very powerful thing!

  • Reply gem December 12, 2010 at 07:37

    That’s awesome. Nobody would ever refer to my usual self as cheerful (even though I do consider myself more or less optimistic) so that’s quite an accomplishment in my mind. Well done!

  • Reply Little House December 12, 2010 at 08:34

    I’m glad to hear that this coming year is sounding like it’s starting out on a much more positive note! The positive outlook probably helps. 😉

  • Reply Vinita December 12, 2010 at 08:54

    Great change! Loved reading your post. Gratitude is indeed so important, really makes us appreciate all we have when things aren’t going so well! Congrats on that decision you made !

  • Reply Riley Carson December 12, 2010 at 09:00

    Ah! I’ve been in those horrid dark places that really just eat you up inside. A positive change for a brighter new year, eh?

  • Reply unknowntheartist December 12, 2010 at 15:29

    Awesome post, EE! Positive thinking and positive outcomes!!!
    Anyone can change but it takes a better person to identify those feelings and do something about it. Congrats on looking at life in a different way and loving it!
    I have never read The Secret but I’m sure in everyone’s own way, we all use a bit of it to get through the bad times 🙂
    May the New Year bring you health and happiness!

  • Reply me in millions December 13, 2010 at 17:13

    Amen! I’m still working on cultivating that gratitude, but it goes a long way.

  • Reply Seven Links | Musings of an Abstract Aucklander July 30, 2011 at 08:47

    […] still sarcastic and prickly, but I’m no longer a total downer, as I detailed in this Reverb10 post on the best decision I ever made. I also have a soft spot for this little post, Dreams. It’s funny how they […]

  • Reply Izy Berry January 14, 2014 at 17:34

    That’s really cool. Sometimes I get so caught up in the daily grind I forget how much there is to be grateful for. That’s one thing I miss about long term travel, constantly being amazed at the world and feeling so blessed to be in a new place exploring it. Lovely post!!!

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