“I am happily living in ‘the other Washington’ where I have a day job that I love,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told Washington Post employees after the announcement of his purchase of the newspaper.
For several months now I have been working on my dissertation. I’m exploring a topic I love, and my committee members couldn’t be any more helpful and supportive. Nearly every day I’ve been learning new things that suggest projects for me to work on after I finish this degree. I had been moving joyously through the whole dissertation process.
But this week I hit a couple of those snafus that occasionally come our way and distract us from what we want—and need—to do. First, the Apple Mail program on my desktop computer suddenly stopped pulling in my email. It kept asking for, and rejecting, my password. I spent some time poking around the web site of my hosting service, then finally moved on to live chat tech support. Daniel, the support guy, spent a lot of time on the problem but couldn’t figure it out. He then asked his supervisor, who also had no luck. They ended up calling in the head email guru, who lived an hour away. They did finally fix the problem, but I lost several hours that I had intended to dedicate to working on that dissertation.
Second, one morning I came into my home office to find that Mac OS X was unable to write to the external hard drive that I use for daily backups. The helpful little box on the screen advised me to copy my data from that drive and reformat it. Since it’s an old drive, I figured replacement was a better bet then reformatting. Fortunately, I had a brand new 1.5 TB external drive that we had picked up recently on sale. But before I could use it, I had to check the company’s web site, find out how to format the drive for use with my Mac, then format the drive and copy the data onto it. I also had to edit my backup program to write to the new drive rather than the old one. So there went another couple of hours that should have been devoted to the dissertation.
As I was muttering and mumbling to myself while copying data files, a realization suddenly smacked me in the head: When things go badly, we often shake our fists at the sky and shout, “Why me?” But when things go well, we don’t ask, “Why me?” We simply accept the good, believing it to be our due. We take so many good things for granted, but we get all worked up over the bad ones.
From now on, I’ll try to remember to acknowledge the good things that happen instead of noticing only the bad. And I’ll try to be just as grateful for the good things as I am disgruntled about the bad—and grateful that, overall, the good far outweigh the bad.
© 2010 by Mary Daniels Brown