I have a tendency to view things as "the worst possible thing ever." Then inevitably something happens to either a family member, a friend, or even a stranger that puts things in perspective and makes me feel foolish and ashamed for ever feeling that way in the first place. Not to necessarily minimized the particular plight or hardship we are facing but it makes me realize that there are worse things and that maybe I should be more thankful for the blessings that I do have and not take them for granted or just expect that they will always be around.
For example a few years ago my husband was a car salesman. He did really well until the economy tanked and we were really struggling. He was looking for another job (thankfully he has a college degree to fall back on which made his current job a possibility) but money was really, really tight. He found a job almost immediately and while he has to work his ass off (80/hr. weeks every week) he is providing for our family in such a way that continues to allow me to be home with our children. During this same time a co-worker of my husband's was facing a similar situation, but he has no education or work experience outside of working at a car dealership. They have had to give up much and things are not looking good for them. Foreclosure on their home and bankruptcy is a real possibility. There are times I get down because my husband seems like he is always gone but then I think "At least we're not near bankruptcy" and it puts things in perspective.
Similarly, there are times I am annoyed at little things. Maybe because my husband leaves his clothes all over the house so I can tell the exact path he took when he got home the night before. Or the fact that I receive virtually no help ever with my children. I am with them 24 hours/ 7 days a week. No one ever takes them for an hour so I can run some errands or anything like that and there are days that togetherness is hard. But then I think about a friend whose husband was just diagnosed with cancer and they have young children who may soon be fatherless. Or I think about a young girl who has brain cancer. She is the same age as my daughter. The thought of living a day without her makes my frustration with no "me time" seem silly.
Then I think about this new life growing inside of me. I would never say that I have taken any pregnancy for granted. I know from first hand experience how possible and devastating it is to lose a child somewhere along the way during a pregnancy Because of that experience, I always worry early on until a few ultrasounds have been done if there is anything wrong, anything that might cause me to lose the baby. I'm always so thankful when I find out that things are looking great. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that not every pregnancy is smooth sailing. I have close to ten friends who are pregnant and all due within a month or two of my due date. A couple of them have recently learned there are complications and more than likely will lose their children at some point during their pregnancies. I am crushed for them. Learning that something is wrong is at times crippling and it puts in perspective the miracle that childbirth truly is. It's amazing that so many make it into this world at all with all the variable of possibilities of things that could go wrong.
I guess it just seems like at times people, myself definitely included, fail to see what is going on around them. We tend to live in our little bubbles where what happens to us is "the worst." That is not to say that because someone has it worse, our problems aren't problems. I guess what I am saying is that it helps to look at the big picture.