Sometimes it’s difficult to focus on the positive when you feel like you’re being inundated with nothing but negative. I know this because I’ve been in that darkness many, many times. Before I met my husband and we got married I was a pretty negative person, and for the most part I had good reason. In the five years that has passed, however, my outlook on life has done a complete turnaround.
From Negative To Positive
My husband is about the happiest, most positive person you’ll ever meet and it’s contagious, so it didn’t take long for some of these traits to transfer to me. It obviously helped that I went from being broke and living out of my car to being middle class and living in my own home, but it was more than that. He doesn’t get angry or sad or upset – when life hands us lemons he makes lemonade.
And life has handed us some lemons in these last five years. We hadn’t been married for a year before I had to have my first surgery. My monthly doctor’s appointment and medications cost us roughly $450 a month. I went from working full-time to part-time and he worked full-time while going to school for the first couple of years of our marriage.
Just recently we both got “dream jobs” which turned out to be nightmares and ended up unemployed. Luckily he wasn’t unemployed for very long, but I haven’t worked since January and as a result we’ve been running out of money at a steady clip. Thankfully I found a job and started a week ago (hooray!) but it’ll be a few weeks before I get a paycheck.
All of that is to say that we have been living on one paycheck for the last month and a half or so, and things have gotten a bit tight in the whole money area. We are getting bills paid, but there isn’t much left over for the less essential essentials.
One of the perks of my last job was a membership to Sam’s Club. We don’t use it very often, but it comes in handy every once in a while. About a month ago we wanted to go, but we weren’t sure if the account was still active, seeing as how I no longer worked for the company. I checked online and it said it was good for another year, so we went and bought a few things.
We decided to go again over this past weekend. I didn’t bother checking the account because I assumed it was still open, seeing as how it hadn’t been a year yet. You know what they say about assumptions, though, right?
Earlier in the day, he had gone to the grocery store and spent some money, so we had a small budget for Sam’s. It wasn’t that we didn’t have the money in our account, it was that we didn’t want to spend it because we had it earmarked for other things.
Well, we get to the check-out line and she swipes my card. I hear a strange noise from the register and she quietly informs me that we will have to renew the card for $40 if we want to use it. Immediately I revert back to my pre-positive days and become anxious.
After a moment of discussion – during which a nice line develops behind us, because of course – we made the choice to go ahead and pay it and continue the transaction.
We then had another choice to make: Do we get angry and frustrated by this unexpected expense and take it out on each other, or do we instead focus on the positives and get through it together, as a team? We chose the latter.
As we walked to our car we contemplated the benefits of spending that $40. Granted, there weren’t many, but there were enough to keep us in good spirits during the walk to the car.
A little over five years ago, something like this would have sent me into a tailspin of anxiety and frustration. I would have been grumpy and stressed and this would have made my husband frustrated, as well. Which would have eventually led to a fight of some sort. Which would have solved absolutely nothing.
I am aware that this particular situation is small potatoes compared to others. We are lucky in that we had the money, even if it meant we couldn’t use it for other things. We were able to leave the store with the items we came for and use our nice car to drive to our nice house with our nice electricity. Even with our current struggle, we are very fortunate (which is another thing we keep in mind in moments like this).
Although it’s not that serious, the moral of the story is that it is imperative to focus on the positives in life. There is enough negativity in this world and in our day-to-day lives, and if you focus solely on the negative aspects of life you’ll find yourself in a quagmire of anxiety and depression.
In almost every negative, however, there is a positive. Even if it’s minuscule or seems unimportant, find it and hold onto it.