Thursday, November 12, 2015

An Attitude of Gratitude

Have you ever had a moment in time you wish you could do over?

I have a looming deadline to submit my next manuscript, so I decided to take my laptop with me to write on the go. I had the laptop in my purse and left it on a table just for a second and...imagine one of those slow motion moments when you see a priceless item fall and you dive to catch it just in time...except I didn't catch it and my brand new laptop hit the floor.  


I rushed the patient to the computer repair folks and got the bad news. The motherboard was cracked. Maybe they could retrieve the data. Maybe not. And the laptop was dead. Oh, and it would take several 2-3 days just to see if my data was retrievable.

Time to panic! I begged the computer repair folks to work on it faster. I begged them to revive the computer. I may have even offered a ritual sacrifice (yeah, ok, this was not my finest moment).

I left the store in a daze, hoping it was all just a bad dream and I would wake up and my laptop and my manuscript and everything else would all be restored (note to self - BACK UP THE LAPTOP MORE OFTEN!).

At least my family was supportive:

Me: I think I killed my laptop today.
Son: When there's a death, there's only one thing you can do.
Me: What's that?
Son: Go through his clothes and look for loose change. [Quote from the Princess Bride]

I realized there was very little I could do at that moment and I had a choice - I could be miserable and eat through my kid's Halloween candy until I landed myself in a hyperglycemic coma, or I could try to see the positive side of life. I chose the latter (well, kinda, I did eat my way through several peanut butter cups and all the Twix).

The nice man at Geek Squad called and they had retrieved the data for me the same day (major shout out to the Tacoma Geek Squad!).  When I went back in, they also said that they thought the laptop might be able to be repairable - yay! I got to talking with the guy behind the counter and found out he was also a writer, so we chatted about writing, and publishing, and laptops, and shared pictures of our cats. Through this experience I realized you can find nice people everywhere.

The trick in life is to find the good, to focus on the blessing. Now, I'm not going to lie here, I am a card carrying member of the pessimist society. Expect the worst and never be surprised! In all honesty, this year has been a bit rough. I've had a few friends die of cancer. I've had struggles at work, raising kids, and even writing. And yet, I know I am truly blessed. I can see how my pessimistic motto has not served me well in many circumstances. Truth is, studies have found that people who are more grateful are overall happier in life. Life is always a mix of blessings and burdens. You just get to chose on what to focus your energy.

So with Thanksgiving coming up, I will try to increase my gratitude in life. According to the smart folks at Harvard, one good way to cultivate gratitude is to say thank you (hey Geek Squad dude who retrieved the data off my laptop the same day I dropped it - THANKS - you rock!). Other good ways to increase gratitude are to keep a gratitude journal, count your blessings, pray, and meditate. Sounds like a pretty good list to me.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~Philippians 4:8

So today I am determined to focus on the blessings in my life...right after my dentist appointment to fix my chipped filling. Yup, it's always a mixed bag.

What are you grateful for today?


  1. Thank you for this fabulous post Amanda! It is wonderful to remember all the things I have to be thankful for, and to remember to say thank you! :) I am so glad you got your data back on the same day.

  2. WOW! You were indeed blessed by the geek gods!
    I'm so lucky to be married to a geek. Soooooo lucky!
    You're so right about an attitude of gratitude! I try to remember to be grateful for everything that's going right in my life (which is a lot) and if I ever get so down that's it hard to do, I look at my feet and start there. "I'm grateful I can walk...I'm grateful my knees are strong...I'm grateful I had that lipo...LOL. Sorry. I can never resist being a smart-ass!
    Humor is another way I cope, but that's really tough to pull off when something horrible happens. Gratitude, however, isn't. Everyone has something to be grateful for.

  3. I saw your post on FB, Amanda. I'm so glad they were able to get your data.

    1. Thank you! I was greatly relieved. I just hope they can revive the laptop!

  4. Saving your data is indeed something to be thankful for! So glad that all worked out, Amanda. Today I'm grateful that my daughter is healthy and at school, which she loves. The last few weeks have been a juggling act of book deadlines, family illnesses, and childcare. I'm grateful for a slower pace too!

    1. I hope everyone in your family will be blessed with health! Book deadlines are tough, but at least you have a publisher that wants your next masterpiece! In our hurry-up world, sometimes slowing down can be a blessing.

  5. Gratitude is always the way to go. Soooo glad the ms was restored. :)