Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Putting it in Perspective: A Bad Day.

Yesterday, I had a bad day. As you know from reading my post here I take the train to work 5 days a week. Well, yesterday the train was delayed, and my fellow passengers and I were to be transported to downtown Vancouver on city busses. Now, there is a drastic difference between the train and a city bus. The train is 1st class public transit. It is temperature controlled, clean, comfortable and fast. I also don’t experience motion sickness on a train. So, I got on the crowded, humid, smelly bus, where I was unable to place my train blankie to get some rest and tried not to vomit for the duration of the jerky trip. Then, I got dropped off quite far away from my workplace and had to walk many city blocks, late for work and in need of coffee. I had no time to stop because Mondays are rough as it is in the office, and I didn’t want to abandon anyone as I am the person they count on to open on Mondays.

So, as you can see, I was indeed having a rough day. Then, I found out the details of the train delay. Someone (jumped) ended up in front of the train and died. Terrible. Of course, I made fun of the incident a bit because that is how I deal with tragedy, but really I was sickened by the whole thing and felt like a douche for being so irritated by my morning delay. I mean, I am only human and am entitled to my (many bad) moods, but still. That dead guy had a way worse morning than me. Whether it was a suicide or not, to be depressed to the point of ending your life is tragic, and although I don’t understand and barely tolerate depression, I still pity it, and I am still glad that my life is free it.

The rest of my day was tainted by a melancholy air. This is unusual for me mid-cycle, and I blamed it on the tinge of motion sickness I experienced from having to text message while on the bus. I started to read the news, trying to find out what happened that morning on the tracks. I ended up reading a bit about the humanitarian crisis in Somolia, where innocent people are suffering famine, drought and genocide. Now, I know that it is kind of old news, and that many of us easily turn a blind eye to the crisis’s in Africa, but it really bothered me to read it, and view the pictures of the children suffering from malnutrition. I follow the news on the Human Rights Watch website so I have somewhat of an awareness of the trials of the Somolian people and the terrible conditions of the Kenyan refugee camps. I think the reason that reading about it yesterday affected me more than usual was because I had been soooo upset that morning about being late for work and missing my breakfast and coffee, but really, I have nothing to complain about.

I missed one meal. These people walk for days on end with no food or water, abandoning weaker loved ones on the way. The world is so full of human suffering: of people losing loved ones to famine, disease, or suicide; of women suffering rape and countless forms of abuse in societies where such treatment is the norm. I live in a society where I actually get to complain about being fat. Where the food on my plate is full of nutrients and tastes amazing. A place where I get to both drink and wash my car with delicious, clean, fresh water.  We spend countless precious hours of our lives crying over relationship problems, whining about going to work for 8 hours a day, yelling at our fellow humans for poor service, stressing about not having enough money to buy all the excessive things that we think that we need. All of these negative actions will eventually affect our health, and trust me, when your health goes, you will feel like an idiot for ever worrying about money.

I made it through my bad day. A client came in and started yelling at my colleagues over something so trivial that I had to leave my desk, or else she would have got a lecture on the trials of the Somolian people. The minutes ticked by and eventually I got to board the comfortable, modern, immaculate train to go home. I reflected on how lucky I am: not only am I lucky to have been born here, where my job involves zero physical exertion, and where I get to drink fresh spring water all day at my desk, but also on how happy I am with my frame of mind. I rarely stress about the little things, am healthy (knock on wood) and have surrounded myself with good people who are loyal and that I care about. We all have bad days, or days where we feel sad or angry, and we are entitled to feel that way. I guess my message is to just not let it get you down too much, and try not to sweat the small stuff, because when put in perspective, most of the things in our lives that upset us, are quite small indeed.


  1. I'll be fine, thank you. As I said, I don't think it's an illness more just a bad state of mind for most people. I don't believe I have a problem, like you judging from your post, I just get on with it like everybody has to. Thank you again, I appreciate the comment very much.

  2. Perspective is so important. It's horrible to be reminded in this way, but sadly sometimes it takes a jolt like that for the perspective to set in.

  3. I remember getting home from living a couple of years in a third-world country and being almost repulsed by the excess of my life. Didn't take me too long to transition back into feeling bad about things like missing TV shows that didn't get recorded on the DVR and being outraged at having to suffer through a hamburger that was served with too much relish even when I asked for very little relish. But It's really good to have reflective moments like this from time to time.

  4. what a morning you had. don't sweat the small stuff indeed.

  5. haha, I have had temper tantrums since this post... but deep down I have perspective =)