Posted by Roger, a contributor to this blog.
Well, folks, so far 2011 has not shaped up as a banner year. On New Year’s Eve morning we received a call that my mother-in-law was in the hospital after having a stroke. One week later my teen-age daughter (a new driver) slid on an ice patch while driving home, ran over a curb, and damaged our van. The next morning, in our other car, my son and I were rear ended while I was driving him to school. I couldn’t believe it but the collision totaled my car! Happy New Year indeed!
Thank goodness for Pollyanna.
Pollyanna was a best-selling children’s book published in 1913. The main character is Pollyanna Whittier, an orphan girl who goes to live with her stern aunt. Pollyanna’s philosophy of life centers on what she calls “The Glad Game”, an optimistic attitude she learned from her father. The game consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation. My own familiarity with the story of Pollyanna was watching the Disney adaptation of this book. It’s a pretty popular movie at my house. To be honest my friends often laugh at my choice of movies, noting that I can watch a double feature of Pollyanna and The Exorcist. But I digress.
The happenings of the last couple of weeks were very easy to be depressed about and I must admit I let them get to me. I turned to my favorite comforts for depression: food, sleep and soda. However I knew those were not the healthiest of solutions so I decided I needed to play “the Glad Game”. I needed to find the positives in my situations. It would be much better for me to find something to be optimistic about instead of remaining pessimistic.
First I had to find something to be glad about regarding my mother-in-law’s stroke. What is the bright side to having a stroke? That’s a pretty serious situation. As a result of the stroke my mother-in-law was having some short term memory problems. My wife said her mother was sometimes asking the same question 6 times within the half hour. I told her, on the bright side, she could tell her mother she visited when she hadn’t and her mother would never know the difference. Just kidding. After much thought I decided that the bright side was that her mother’s memory is returning. Her speech has been affected only minimally and she got a huge wake up call to take better care of her health. She knows now that she seriously has to watch her diet and get more exercise. The lesson was scary but it could have been much worse.
The same goes for the lesson my daughter received. She got a valuable lesson about driving in winter weather and she got off cheap. Cheaper than us, anyways, since we were the ones that had to pay for the repairs. However, in my most Pollyannish manner, I’m glad that the amount of the repairs was low enough that we didn’t have to file an insurance claim. I’m glad we also found out the battery was extremely low so we were able to replace it without my daughter stalling out somewhere. And, of course, I’m glad that no one was hurt or that no one else was involved in the accident.
As for the other accident, well I’m glad I wasn’t seriously hurt and that my son was unscathed. I’m glad that the other driver got a ticket and their insurance has to pay for everything. Have to be honest, not glad to have to get another car when this one was already paid for (I hate car payments!) but I’m glad that this time we will get an automatic transmission instead of a manual.
So, these days, I find it is much better for my health mentally and physically to face adversity with a positive attitude than to wallow in pessimism. I know, easier said than done sometimes, but look at Pollyanna! Her positive attitude managed to change a whole town!