Most of the things that get to me are ridiculously insignificant (like people who take advantage of free food), and I tend to get overly sensitive and defensive at the smallest things. Whenever I'm feeling particularly crabby, my husband always know the right thing to say to put everything into perspective. I also think that the world has a way of slapping you in the face with perspective (like when you're feeling sorry for yourself and then you see someone obviously less fortunate with a smile on their face). Well, I had something like this happen to me yesterday evening.
As I was driving home last night, not feeling particularly sorry for myself, but stressing none the less (it's the end of the month, which means lots of business bills) I heard a story on NPR (my dad is so proud, but wishes I would also watch Fox news - yuckola). All the stories last night had something to do with Bernie Madoff (I think what he did is tantamount to mass murder), and this story in particular was about a man named Willard Foxton. He is the 28-year-old son of a British war veteran who committed suicide after loosing everything to the Madoff swindle. In order to avenge his father's death, Willard came to the US to make a documentary ("The Madoff Hustle") about how Bernie Madoff got away with everything for so long and to interview other victims. While his story is inspiring and certainly puts my air conditioning problem into perspective (even though it is 105 and our AC barely works), it was actually the brief story he told about a man in California (another BM victim . . .I don't think it's a coincidence that his initials mean the same thing as poop) he interviewed for the documentary.
I don't remember many of the details, but this California man is 90 something years old. His family lost everything in the Great Depression and he and his wife have now lost everything again in the BM Ponzi scheme. For the past 20 or 30 years - he was enjoying retirement, but has now come out of retirement to work at a grocery store for $10/hour. Before he retired, this man owned a small business (I believe) and was the very definition of a self-made, salt of the Earth kind of man. When Mr. Foxton asked him how he felt about having to go back to work after loosing all his savings - he just stated plainly that he remembers having nothing before and that at the end of the week his $10/hour starts to add up. He also said (and this is the best part) that he doesn't plan to work at the grocery store forever - his goal is to save $10,000 and then start a new business!
It kind of puts everything into perspective, doesn't it? If this 90 year old man can be this positive after everything that he's been through, certainly anything in my life (including paying the bills and having an only semi-functional air conditioning) is a breeze and unworthy of my sweat!