The Beginning

Over these last seven months or so, I’ve been in and out of the hospital several times and have had over 100 doctor appointments, or what feels like it anyways. Hospital stays, appointments and waiting rooms, and infusions all have one thing in common- they’re all long and boring. Your thoughts wander. There is seemingly endless amount of time to get down on yourself and think the worst, which in all honesty is probably the easier option- but that’s just it. It’s an option. Yes, there really is a second option- you can take your endless amount of undistracted time to reflect on a more positive note. I used to be the first poor soul- always hating and being angry about anything that wasn’t how I envisioned it. That’s how the “I Had a Good Day” Project began.

It was a fine day- a warm, sunny, typical summer day. Nothing bad happened and things went on as normal. The only difference was I sat there wallowing in self-pity and loathe at my “luck.” I was fighting an infection which meant I couldn’t take two of my main medications, resulting in increased pain and stiffness as well as a host of other symptoms and complains. I was at my maternal grandparent’s house accompanied by both of my parents, my brother, my sister, and let’s not forget their cat and dog, (as mean as the cat can be, but that’s another story). I was in good company, so naturally that should have raised my spirits, but I chose to dwell on how I was feeling instead of what and who surrounded me. The food was good, and as previously mentioned, it was a beautiful summer day.

Going outside to play ladder ball as we typically all do together at these gatherings was next on the agenda. This is the point where I officially decided that today was a bad day, despite quality time with loved ones, the good food, and the perfect weather, (which I should add is a rarity in this town). If you don’t know how to play ladder ball you-tube someone playing. It’s a quick, easy game. Basically you have to bend down each turn to pick up the three ball-like-things (definitely not the correct term), step forward, and toss each one underhand x distance. Based on my level of pain, stiffness, and at this point irritability, I rationalized that the bending, stepping, and swinging of my arm, (and let’s not forget the pain, stiffness, and cramps in my hands that would make the constant opening, closing, and gripping even more less than desirable), would add to my misery, so I made the choice that I have never made before- to sit and watch, which also added to my misery. At this point though, I had concluded that playing would cause more misery than watching, so I decided not to suck it up and push through like I typically would, and chose the lesser of the two evils.

As they began I had allowed myself to go into a dark place, internally, and internally cry about how much today “sucked” and get down on myself. Just like yesterday had been, and the day before that, and probably future days to come. The people I was with, the food, the weather- nothing could save the day, (or so I thought). Because I felt too bad to play, this one small detail in an otherwise good day, was decidedly enough to make this a bad day. Not even a bad moment or a bad hour, but a bad day in general. Alright, at this point I’m sure you get the message- it was a bad day despite the good and I’m probably sounding like the most self-absorbed, unappreciative person in the world.

As I sat there slipping deeper and deeper into that dark, self- loathing place, something subconsciously changed in me. I do not know how or why, or what triggered it. Suddenly the sun rays got warmer, their laughter got louder, and my stomach felt fuller. I started to realize- today was anything BUT a bad day. Sure I couldn’t play, but was that really that big of a deal? No, it’s the most-petty thing I could’ve (and did) get mad about that day. I sat here with my loved ones who I cherished deeply, making memories. As my attitude shifted from one extreme to the other, I sat there and began to embrace the moment and the day just as it was, soaking up every sound, every feeling- every possible piece of the memories and joy we were creating that day. On a darker note, (the kind I’m preaching to stay away from), I realized I will never get this day back or this chance to make memories, that life goes on and things change and that one day this will be just that- a memory. I wanted every possible memory to hold onto while I had the chance to make them and experience them.

The truth is, I’m blessed. I’m extremely blessed.

I was always raised to believe that it could always be worse, that someone always had it worse, which in this moment I realized to be true and that I wasn’t that “someone.” I will forever be grateful of this. I may have been fighting an infection, but at least I had the resources to fight the infection. I am blessed to have a good job that pays me, which allows me to pay for health insurance and any out-of-pocket medical expenses. Yes, I’m 21- of course I would rather spend my money on other things and worry about anything else, but I have a job, with benefits, and the resources I need. Too many people, and in this case even one is too many, go without the medical care they desperately need, resulting in a worse outcome. Too many people aren’t blessed with the medical access, insurance, job, or benefits to get the care they need- especially if that requires travel costs, as many do not have the doctors, treatments, or expertise and knowledge locally to support their individual needs, even if they have the other required tools and resources for medical access. Travelling, especially when it comes to the frequent visits one might encounter in the grand scheme of medical needs, is expensive, adds up quickly, and usually is not covered by benefits or insurance.

This really isn’t about medicine or medical woes though. It’s about finding the good in every moment of every day. As I sat there laughing and making memories, I was, and am, blessed to have the physical supports of medicine, doctors, a job, benefits, insurance, and a car to get to all of these places. At this moment and forever, I am blessed with a very devoted, loving, and supportive family, friends, and loved ones. I am, and will always be blessed knowing I will never have to worry about having a roof over my head, a warm place to go, or when/where my next meal will be coming from. These are all common things we take advantage of and for granted-that we will never have to stress about these things. These are all things that come naturally in the lives we were blessed to receive and expect to always be there. These things are so stable in our lives that we forget they are not always stable in other’s lives, and about the population throughout the world that have to think about these things on a daily basis and how to continue to receive these things, if they even can- sometimes they go without basic necessities such as food, a warm pace, and love. We need to make a conscious effort when we wake up every morning to say “it’s a good day” and fall asleep every night saying “I had a good day.”

If we start realizing the good in every moment, we will start seeing more and more good fill those moments.

Now go put your fight song on, roll up your sleeves, and move on with your good day. Welcome to the “I Had a Good Day” Project. Today I am blessed and today, I had a good day.