The Benefit of Being Grateful for Bad Days

“I’d like to thank the Academy, er, uh, UNIVERSE!” – Thoughts on being grateful for the bad days because they make the good days so good!

I’ve had the most amazing and inspirational day. The funny thing is, it’s only 10 am. After being there for five days for work, I woke up this morning around 3 am in Washington, D.C., ready to head back home to Austin…and my family. I was in a funk the last couple of weeks for some odd reason. I think my previous post reflected that. I went to delete it because I felt like maybe I was a little “too transparent.” It’s a vulnerable feeling when you are honest with yourself, but even more so when you remove any social mask and put it out there for all the world to see. But, I’ve also learned that when I’m transparent, someone else is transformed. They feel like they aren’t alone in their struggles, and that’s good enough for me.

And that’s precisely why I felt like the most important thing I could do was to share a follow-up post with you to show that all of life ebbs and flows. There are days when everything goes wrong. But, then, there are other days when everything goes right. When the bad days come, self-care and patience are paramount. The only thing constant in life is change. Bad days will pass, good days will come, and learning to be grateful for both makes for a happy life.

My day started with an Uber driver at 4 am, which felt more like a Ted Talk than a ride to the airport. My diver was Retura. Remember his name.

I asked him how his morning was going and if he had just started or had been driving all night. He said he’s been at work all night. And when I made some disgruntled sounding noise, followed by a “ wow, that must be hard.” He responded with this.

“No, it’s not bad. It’s a privilege. I moved here from Ghana 8 years ago. America gives you so many opportunities that it lets you go beyond your limits. All you have to do is work hard, and doors open. It’s a struggle, but you keep going. Life is all about challenges and then learning to solve problems. Some people want others to solve their problems. You can never be successful with that mentality.”

He went on and on, and I immediately grabbed my phone and furiously began taking notes because I didn’t want to forget a word he was saying. I loved his joy, attitude, gratitude, and incredible spirit. When we got to the airport, I wanted to look him in the eyes, shake his hand, and tell him what an honor it was to meet him.

As soon as I got on the plane, I slipped on my headphones and went into a coma. I don’t know when, but the music turned itself off. Next thing you know, in my deep state of awkward airplane sleep, I hear, “If anyone wants to take a photo with the Oscar, come to the front of the plane.” This was when I woke up. Wait, what? An Oscar? Sure enough, a man is standing at the front of the plane holding an Oscar. Knowing what an Oscar’s goal is for my daughter, I HAD to get a photo. But the woman in the aisle seat on the opposite side of our middle seat was asleep. I didn’t want to wake her if she felt anything like I did.

Then the man must have seen it on my face because he came to me! It was an Oscar for the sequel to Alien, called Aliens (Original), and the man won it for best sound editing. But, obscure movie and all, it was still really cool to hold it. We took the photos, and I woke up my row mate in the process.

Since I travel all the time, I’ve stopped speaking to the people next to me. I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m typically exhausted by the time I get to a plane. But for some reason, we began chatting up immediately after our Oscar moment.

Do you ever find random strangers that feel like some odd kindred spirit! This was her! Her name was Nora, and she was a soon-to-be-retired Colonel in the Army. We talked about kids, life, travel, wine, West Point and Tom Clancy, and on and on. It was yet another conversation today that was a huge blessing. I truly enjoyed speaking with her and was happy she had cards on her so we could meet up again the next time I’m in D.C. She was just the most remarkable person!

And as if all that wasn’t enough. I reached my connection spot in Houston and stepped off the plane, ready for a cup of coffee. It was only 9 am by this time. Earlier in the week, I had this weird back spasm that had happened only a couple of times before, leaving me almost incapacitated. Yay! Aging is fun! I walked past one of those airport massage places. You know, the ones you secretly are jealous of when you see someone in there getting their necks worked on. They had this huge sign outside, and it said if you have the Calm meditation app, you could get a free ten minutes in one of their awesome massage chairs. OMG! YES! I HAVE THAT APP!

I ask the lady how much to add 20 minutes. She says they have a special running, of course, they do, 20 minutes for 20 dollars! SOLD! I say, and I can pay when I’m all done.

I take my cup of coffee to the chair. I get cozy. And away I went to the fastest 30 minutes of my entire life. It was heaven. I get up to pay, and I no longer see the lady standing there. Instead, a masseur was working on a lady’s neck. I motioned to him that I needed to pay. He looks at me and brushes his hand in the air, saying, don’t worry about it. I stood there stunned and mouthed. Are you sure??? At which point he blew me kisses.

From the moment the Ted Talk happened, I took notice. I KNEW the tides had changed and that all this positive energy was flowing back into my life. But that’s just life. It’s a yen and yang. You have to hold on through the problematic waves because another wave is always right behind that one.

I felt like the Universe was blowing me kisses that day. And I was humbled and grateful, and I think I so appreciated it because of the struggles of late. We can be thankful for our difficulties because we have such a greater appreciation for the good days.

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