Today, I’m grateful for the internet. Yes, the internet.
Sometime late last week, our internet went down. I still live with my parents and am (somehow) the most knowledgeable in the house about everything electronic. Which meant, unfortunately, that I was going to have to be the one to fix it.
Since I was heading up to my cabin this weekend, I kind of just ignored the problem Thursday and Friday and went on my merry way to the lake, fully believing that the internet would restore itself by Sunday evening. Well, nope, it didn’t. I came home Sunday night and took the modem and router and hooked it up to different phone lines in the house. It worked for approximately fifteen minutes and then quit again.
Okay, I thought. So no internet Sunday night. That’s fine. I don’t need to do any work until tomorrow anyway. I’m sure I can get it fixed by then.
Mondays are the day that I have been striving to post on this blog. I want to engage an audience somehow and it gets my writer’s muscles moving at the beginning of the week if I force myself to write something. I also had a few final finishing touches that I wanted to put on an essay before sending it out to Creative Nonfiction for a submission deadline that was that day.
Long story short, I spent much of Monday in a chat bubble on my tiny phone screen and on the phone with customer service for our internet provider. I was asked the same questions multiple times by the same people over and over and over again. By the end of the day and hours on the telephone all that I had found out was that our DSL modem was broken and that we’d have to spend money to replace it because the company no longer provides them for their customers.
Cool, great. So no internet into Monday night. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t just go somewhere else to get my work done — I did. My computer decided that not only would it not connect to the faulty internet at home, it didn’t much like internet connections elsewhere, either. I kind of just gave up after that.
On Tuesday, after being on the verge of frustration tears many times, I finally got the internet to work about halfway through the day. YES, I thought. Finally. No more disaster days.
And then I realized that while I was fussing and complaining about how hard technology is for me to understand, millions of people in Florida were fleeing their homes or staying put, waiting for the dangerous storm that was making their way towards them. On Monday, while I struggled with the internet, my brother, sister-in-law, baby niece, and their cat and dog were headed back to their home after evacuating Friday night, unsure of whether they had power and what damage their home had suffered from the hurricane. (Also shout out to my brother & sister in law because they found and actually read this blog 🙂 )
And during all that, I was complaining about the internet. All while I was safe at home, comfortable, and had nowhere in particular to be and no obligations other than the ones that I have given myself this week.
Perspective is always important.
Because the thing is, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I don’t have thousands of readers out there waiting for this blog post to go live Monday morning. I can find a different venue for the essay I wanted to submit. I’ve had power and a warm home and food and water this entire time. Instead of complaining to myself and struggling through my days, I could have taken the time I had offline to read more and write more, because those things don’t exactly require the internet.
Bad days happen. But I almost always guarantee that there is someone out there who is having a much worse day than you. And even if you’re frustrated, even if you can’t calm down, if you can just remember the things that you are grateful for, I think that your day will get a whole lot better.
And me? I’m grateful for the roof over my head, I’m grateful that my brother’s home suffered very minimal damage from Irma, I’m grateful for my kitty sidekick sitting next to me as I read this. I’m grateful for the money I was able to save up so that I could spend this time working on my writing, I’m grateful for this computer and this internet, and I’m grateful for the huge stack of reading material waiting for me on my desk.
Life isn’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you react to what happens to you. (who do I attribute this quote to?) Today, I’m going to try to be a little more positive. To be grateful for what I have. And I think that perspective shift will make a big difference.
My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the Hurricanes in our country these past few weeks. If you’re interested in helping the hurricane relief for the damage inflicted by both Irma and Harvey, here’s some resources:
I recommend doing research on charities before you donate to them by using resources such as Charity Navigator and Guidestar.