“Well ladies, cheers,” said Erica, “To whatever comes next.”
One hard cider, one beer mug and one glass of chardonnay clinked glasses. Fucking right, I thought.
I was out for dinner with my friends Sophie and Erica, two girls who I spent 50 percent of my weekdays with from mid-2015 to mid-2016.
Nothing had changed.
Coworkers are like the adult version of your high school track team (or basketball, football, soccer—pick your sport). You’re around each other constantly, fight battles together, get fed up with each other, and all this could happen without ever hanging out outside the office. This was the first time the three of us sat around a table (this time at a bar instead of a conference room) in over a year.
“I truly believe,” added Sophie, adding to Erica’s toast, “That if you think happy thoughts good things will happen to you.”
We’re each at new companies; we’re each far better off than we were a year ago. And while things are looking good—Erica is moving home to Chicago; Sophie is four months into a job she absolutely loves—each of us knows far too well how fast things can change.
I tried very, very hard to not get Soph a look that read you must be fucking kidding me. And I failed, very very much.
“Well, that’s great Tinkerbelle,” I said, “But I don’t think that’s how it works.”
Perception is everything.
Sophie is the kind of girl who has so many things going for her—six-pack abs, blonde hair that goes down to her butt, and a killer personality—that you kind of want to hate her until you realize how awesome she is. I mean this lovingly. Sophie is the kind of girl who finds five-dollar bills on the street (trust me, I watched it happen—twice). I’m the girl who gets excited to find a quarter.
“Did you know Kara’s been in sixteen car accidents!?” screamed Erica.
Sophie gave me the same look I gave her ten seconds earlier. “How is that even possible?”
I gave up. “I don’t know. Weird shit just happens to me.”
“Well,” they said, “You’re either the most unlucky girl we know, or you’re the luckiest girl who ever lived.”
And that one sentence proved the power of perception and the power of thinking happy thoughts.
After dinner, Erica caught an Uber, Sophie got in her car and I walked the whole 200 feet to my apartment. I was already in bed when I realized our trifecta group text had twenty messages in it.
Sophie drove all of two blocks before getting pulled over for using her cellphone. By the time I read the messages, she had already talked herself out of it.
Of course Sophie talked herself out of it! I typed back.
Then I caught myself. If it were me getting pulled over, and I talked myself out of it, which would I remember? I would probably think, “Of course I got pulled over, this sort of thing always happens to me.” However, when it happened to Sophie, she focused on her good stroke of luck at being able to talk herself out of a ticket.
Think happy thoughts—focus on the good, not the bad
Of my long list of car accidents, five were collisions with another vehicle. Three times the vehicle was totaled. Two were roll-overs, and both times I had to break a window in an upside down car to crawl my way out.
Do you know how many times I’ve been injured? Once. I got stitches (big deal).
I don’t know what’s more impressive—my issues with cars or my ability to escape unscathed. But you can’t argue Sophie and Erica’s point—I am very, very lucky.
I don’t believe in pixie dust and I’m not sure I believe in luck, but here is what I do believe: Half of what happens to you depends on how you look at it. Each time you’re hit with a crisis (figuratively or literally) you have a choice: You can be pissed at the world and focus on your misfortune, or you can think happy thoughts and consider yourself lucky for making it out alive.
So think happy thoughts. If the world gives you a break, count it as a blessing. If it’s the worst day of your adult life, call yourself a fighter for making through it. Good and bad things happen to every person on this planet—it’s up to you to decide which you remember.
Cheers to that.
Good luck in Chicago, Erica!!