Looking for the bright side

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine told me the following horror story: their sewer line had collapsed. Because they have a large tree in their front yard right next to the line, the pressure of the roots finally made it give way. The plumbers arrived on the scene and said that they couldn’t fix it until they procured the proper permits, which would take about a week.

That’s right — a week without being able to run the washing machine or dishwasher. They were able to rout out just enough to allow my friend’s family to be able to take a super quick dip in the shower, brush their teeth, or flush the toilet. Just not at the same time.

And the plumbers would have to dig up most of their front yard. And they couldn’t level off the resulting grave-like pile of dirt because it needs time to settle back down around the new line. And it was going to cost money. Lots of money.

Her attitude after she told me all this? “Well, at least it will be fixed and we won’t have to worry about it anymore.”

I don’t think I’d have that kind of outlook; I’m not that much of an optimist. But the more I think about how she managed to find the good in such a bad situation made me wonder if I shouldn’t be trying to look for the bright side more in my everyday life. I’m not talking about going all Pollyanna, you understand, but if there are issues that arise that I can’t do one thing about, it makes sense to find their silver linings rather than dwelling on their negatives.

And doesn’t it just figure that lately I’ve had ample opportunity to find those bright sides?

1. Spring snowstorm:  We got hit with a late spring snowstorm that also affected other parts of the Midwest, the East Coast, and Canada. It dropped about 9 more inches of that heavy, wet snow that’s half slush, half heartache. I’d hoped for a snow day for the kids, but their school district was one of the few that was still in session.

The bright side?


My kids (and Louie the Wonder Pup) had the best time after school. Even though it was hard to snowblow, let alone shovel, it was the perfect snow for fort-building and snowman-creating.

2. Broken glasses. 


And this was my son’s back-up pair. Enough said, right?

The bright side? We were able to find new ones quickly. They fit him better, since it had been a couple years and a few growth-spurts ago that he got those old frames. And he had his new ones before standardized testing started this week.

3. Standardized testing. Like other school districts’ across the US, this week begins our state standardized testing. The twins were nervous about it, since this is their first year taking these particular tests. Everyone’s regular school schedule has changed to accommodate the testing and that tends to throw off our equilibrium (and our moods) a bit.

The bright side? The kids have no homework. Which means that I won’t have to ask them about it, that they can’t possibly forget or lose it, and that there are no assignment notebooks for me to sign (which I have to do every day). They are thrilled.

4. Daylight Saving Time. It begins on Saturday — time to turn those clocks an hour forward. I saw it on my calendar yesterday and thought it was a mistake until I read Thea’s post confirming it (Thank you, Thea!).

Personally, I don’t feel like I have an hour to give right now. I know I get grumpy and discombobulated when we start messing with the time, but losing an hour each Spring always hurts a little more. And it seems far too early to be doing anything Spring-related with all this snow on the ground.

The bright side? It’s literally the bright side. We’ll get golden light longer into the evening as our location tilts more toward the sun. We’re closer to the end of Winter, closer to baseball’s Opening Day, closer to Easter, closer to all things Spring.

It’s just going to take that adjustment period where we all need to be mindful of acting a little more kind, a little more gentle with each other’s feelings.

And if all else fails, we’ll eat a ton of chocolate and take a nap. Now that’s a bright side.

About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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26 Responses to Looking for the bright side

  1. mtetar says:

    Great Post Joan! Being MINDFUL that there is always a Bright Side in EVERYTHING, and being aware of it is very helpful. Think positive, but most importantly PRAYER. Thanks for sharing, http://projectsbyMtetar.wordpress.com

    • For me, finding those silver linings can be tough sometimes, especially when it’s far easier to see the negatives. I’m going to try to swap out that negativity, dig a little deeper, and reset my outlook.

  2. Susan Bahr says:

    Spring is such a time of hope – but first you have to get through the storms. I like the chocolate part. That always works for me.

  3. Good post. I just checked and according to my calendar British Summer Time begins at Easter this year. So for a couple of weeks your time will be an hour closer to ours. (If I’ve worked it out right!)

  4. Cul de Sac says:

    oh Joan! I love your post!!! and in such a timely manner here… i’ve been struck with something nasty on Facebook (not me but my fan page) and now you are helping me look at the bright side! now every fans my page has is knowing where i’m standing! and the best??! i didn’t loose any 😉
    Thanks sooo much for sharing! it meant a lot to me 🙂

    • Oh Josee! I’m so sorry you got hit with a nasty comment on FB! Ugh! Good for you for finding that bright side (and not losing any fans), even in the face of that ugliness.

      Can I tell you how much it means to me that you found this post to give you encouragement? SO much!!! Thank you for reading and letting me know!

  5. mkonglish7 says:

    I’m always happier once there’s more sunlight. 🙂

  6. Leah says:

    Great perspective, Joan. Sometimes we all need to step back and look for the bright side! It’s all too easy to get caught up in the woes of our every day life… or to develop an Eeyore mentality haha.

    • Love the “Eeyore mentality” analogy! So true!!

      So would a Tigger mentality be the opposite of an Eeyore one? Or is he far too bouncy and Roo would be better?

      Apparently, I have seriously missed Winnie the Pooh. Who knew?! Have a good weekend, Leah!

  7. Time With Thea says:

    Hi Joan! Absolutely love this post. Isn’t it interesting how life works that way for everyone? I have to thank you for a couple of things. First of all, for making our day-to-day life realities real through what you and your friend have had to deal with. The second thank you is for making a connection to my blog. When I saw that my thoughts were “Oh WOW!”. We have never met but I feel that we are so much on the same page… except I do not knit very well at all. Have a good weekend.. hopefully in some good weather. FYI.. after our storm, there is still a lot of snow where I live everywhere! ~Thea

    • I know exactly what you’re saying, Thea. I feel the same! That’s the absolute best part of blogging — “meeting” people that I swear I must have known in another life.

      And truth be told, I did look at my calendar, shook my head because I just KNEW the time change couldn’t be this early and then I thought, “If it’s real, I’ll bet Thea blogged about it.” No kidding.

      We’re getting rain, rain, rain this weekend which will melt our snow and then… I’m not sure where all the water goes! Yikes. But the upside is that we might all be able to sleep in (if it’s gray and rainy) on Sunday. Here’s hoping!

  8. You’re right, we really should look on the bright side. Unfortunately, my instinct is to always look for the worst-case scenario. It goes back to high school I think: “I didn’t study enough. I’m going to fail this test. Then I’m going to fail this class. I’ll have to drop out. I’ll never get a good education. I’ll never get a good job. No one will want to marry an unemployed uneducated loser. I’ll die unhappy and alone…” Gotta work on finding that silver lining!!! (yeah, I know, I always passed the test…)

    • Oh, the spiral! I’ve done that “I’m going to mess this up, which will lead to Disaster #1, followed by Horrible Event #2, which then leads to Catastrophe #3 and then the end of civilization as I know it” spiral. It’s an easy slide if I’m grumpy or tired or sick or whatever. And I’m a Champion Worrier. If they ever add Worrying to the Olympics, I’m a shoo-in for the team.

      I do think it’s easier for me to focus on the negatives when something like that sewer situation that affected my friend’s house happens. But I did notice that with the stuff that I couldn’t change anyway — snow, broken glasses, etc — I could let it go so much easier by finding something (anything!) good about it. Not my normal attitude, but I’m working on it!

      And hey — thanks for dropping by and sharing!! Have a good weekend!

      • Had to share: The boy threw up all over the backseat of our new car today.

        Silver lining: We were supposed to be driving 7 hours today to visit family for March Break but had to cancel for other reasons. Thank god this happened close to home and not somewhere in the middle of nowhere on the highway!

        Thanks again for a timely post!

      • Oh my gosh!! I hope he’s feeling better now. Poor kiddo. And while we’re at it — your poor car!

        Can I just say– I think you’ve taught me a thing or two about finding the silver lining! But you’re absolutely right — it’s so much better to be close to home than on the 7-hour journey to visit family!

  9. CTW says:

    Thanks, Joan! A very nice reflection. My kids and I loved the snow, too. 🙂

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