This column first appeared in May 1996.
I don't know about you, but there are times when I get the blues. All of us do, I guess, especially when things don't go right. If you want to wallow in self-pity, it's easy to do. After all, feeling sorry for yourself is the easy way out. Blaming others for what has befallen us also can become a crutch. We don't like to take our own inventory and realize we have no one to blame for our circumstances but ourselves. Yet most of the time that's where the blame should fall-right on our own shoulders. But there's a much better way to approach life when you're feeling down. I'll try to explain.
Do you have your health? You probably do, but you've been too busy or too preoccupied to understand what a wonderful gift it is. It's truly priceless. Ask people who don't have their health what they would give to have it back. If they're rich, they'll tell you they would give it all away if only they could be healthy and whole again. Yet, if we are healthy, many of us probably don't do a lot of the things necessary to take care of ourselves. We tell others we're too busy to eat right or exercise regularly. We say we want success, but without our health what good is being successful? If you're feeling a little depressed but are generally in good health, it should make you feel better to know you're physically capable of doing just about anything you want. And that makes you one lucky individual.
What about family? Take a moment to think about your husband or wife, sons or daughters, mom and dad, brothers and sisters. Even with all the trials and tribulations, our families are such a tremendous blessing. They are the ones who know you and love you. They'll always be there, standing by you no matter what. Just think about what life would be like without your family in the background.
Then there's citizenship. We as Americans live in the greatest country in the world, where anything is possible. We are free to dream our dreams and make them come true. Look around you. There are success stories everywhere-people who have overcome almost insurmountable odds to achieve their goals. Individuals who were raised in poverty and went on to become multimillionaires. Individuals confined to wheelchairs who compete in marathons and break records year after year. A single mother who successfully raised 13 children by working three jobs to make sure they had a nice home and quality education. All went to college, some to Ivy League universities, where they excelled. There are so many stories of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary feats. But here, too, so many of us take our blessings for granted. Just think about the people the world over who would give anything to be citizens of the good ol' U.S.A.
There's so much more we could think about, but these ideas should help in some small measure to make us feel better about our lot in life. So maybe today isn't a perfect day, and maybe things haven't been going your way. But if you persist and face up to how lucky you are and where you are, maybe things will start breaking your way.
Count your blessings,
Charles S. Lauer