Most people who know me realize that one of my life mantras is the Serenity Prayer (asking help to change the things I can, the ability to accept the things I can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference). I also subscribe to one of my mom’s favorites: “This too shall pass.” But there’s a third piece of mental health maintenance I repeat often: “Oh well, it could be worse (ICBW).”
ICBW seems to have the uncanny talent to apply to almost any situation, because I have never been or will I ever be poverty-stricken, 100% desolate, and without hope. As most of you are, I am usually in the middle somewhere. So yes, things can be worse. There’s always room to move in that direction.
I tried to take a nap today and got awakened by two phone calls. Frustrating, to be sure, but - one of those calls could have been from a loved one bearing tragic news. Instead, one was from a telemarketer and the other from my daughter, checking in. ICBW.
As a medical transcriptionist, I have my share of dreaded dictators - the ones who don’t know where the “pause” button is and sit in silence or throw around papers or type while they think, or the ones who “uh” and “er” and then mumble the rest of the way, costing me money. I had Dr. H-- (who does all these things) dictate something the other day. It was a 12-minute dictation. I sighed, then thought, “Well, it could be a 20-minute dictation.” I can even take it further. “Dr. H-- could have been covering the hospital all week; it could have been Dr. H-- along with another equally horrible dictator on the next dictation; it could have been Dr. H-- with a sore throat and sinus blockage mumbling with an incoherent raspy voice and blowing his nose into the phone.” ICBW.
A friend told me he didn’t get as much raise as he thought he might, but at least he has a good job. ICBW. Our Jeep Liberty was stalling and gave out on the highway last week and had to go in for repairs. Ed was worried it was the tran$mi$$ion. But it was a minor problem with a bill of $81. Whew! ICBW. We had our debit card number stolen this week and had several fraudulent charges made to our checking account. They totaled $121. That’s bad, but the alternative? I’d just gotten paid and they could have wiped us out before I even was aware of it. ICBW.
Some people may find this approach of deliberately bringing to mind unpleasant scenarios depressing, but I find it uplifting. Because it is always a true statement, my rational mind has to acknowledge that I am in a better place than it might originally seem. It’s just one of those little ways to encourage gratitude and a sigh of relief, rather than resulting in my wallowing in self-pity and anxiety.
As you can see, this blog post is relatively short for me. It totals 564 words and is quite benign in nature. It could have totaled 1200 words and could have discussed in excruciatingly sickening detail an assertion I found on the Internet today that the dairy industry realizes there is a problem with pus in cow’s milk. See? ICBW.