Life is busy. Life is stressful. And let’s face it, often in life it seems as if very little, if anything, goes our way.
We focus on the BIG job promotion we haven’t got at work yet, or the BIG payday from the lottery that still hasn’t come, or the BIG wedding proposal that just isn’t happening. The big purchases — the car, the house, the boat, the cabin, the light bulbs.
Wait a second. The light bulbs?
To most people, buying light bulbs isn’t a big deal, but to me it is. Buying and changing light bulbs is one of life’s little victories for me, and while it may sound stupid, for someone who is terrible at handyman work, changing a decorative or energy-efficient light bulb gives me a sense of accomplishment. For two minutes I feel like Mike Holmes. I did it. I fixed something. And who is going to take that little victory away from me?
Another of life’s little victories is the "stoplight lotto." I drive to work at 5 a.m., a time when there is little to no traffic on the road. When I lived and worked in Saskatoon, the city had a midnight to 6 a.m. stoplight ordinance, which allowed all the city’s traffic lights to flash yellow, turning each intersection into a four-way stop.
The reality of this is you can go virtually anywhere as fast as the law will allow without stopping, since there’s no traffic on the road and no need to wait very long at intersections. (I know the mayor and possibly our mayoral candidate reads my column on occasion, and think running the four-way stop in the overnight hours may be a good idea.)
I digress. When I drive to work, I cruise through seven intersections. More than half the time, I stop at least once at a red light when there are no cars; often it’s at least two.
When I have to stop at all seven, somehow it becomes an omen for my day. However, if all seven are green, lotto win for me! And remarkably, 95 per cent of the time I DO have a good day.
Coincidence or state of mind? Small victories matter.
Think about it — they may be small, but they have the power to make you feel great, they change your attitude, they can change your day, your week, and maybe your life.
OK, maybe your yogurt lid coming off clean, or a lint filter full of lint coming out in one pull may not change your life — but it’s a "feel good" small victory.
We asked some listeners about theirs:
Tim — When you fill your gas and stop right on the dollar;
Tanya Addison — When the mushroom soup slides out of the can in one piece;
Kimberley Rozak Watters — Peeling off an orange peel all in one shot;
Elise Kaley — When it’s 40 below, and I somehow manage to find a parking spot close to the entrance of the place I’m at;
Marina Nederlof — Finding shoes and pants that fit and they are on sale;
Vicki Sturgeon — When you walk into work and the coffee is already brewing;
Jennifer Lynn — When I get everyone up and to their places and have time to hit Timmies for a coffee I didn’t have time for at home;
Angele Murray — When you squeeze ketchup or mustard out of the bottle for your sandwich and it doesn’t have that watery stuff come out first;
Alyy Kiazyk — When you have enough change to pay for something so you don’t have to break a 20;
Whitney Wright — When somebody ahead of you pays for your coffee — thanks!
Kathy Hodgins — Getting the first fresh baked loaf of the day from my bakery ... so soft and still warm in the middle;
Cody Allan Dixon — When I find an old sweater or jacket and find 20 bucks in the pocket, or when I have a song stuck in my head and getting in your car only to realize the song you were thinking of is just starting to play.
Eric Sauerborn — Putting a USB flash drive in right the first time;
Tina Duncan — Getting home and finding that one of the kids has cleaned something without being asked or told to — best feeling ever;
Jessica Ludwig — When there is no line at my local Tim Horton’s;
Lana Karpyk — Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you still have hours left to sleep;
Jenny Dann Scharff — No line at a checkout till;
Randall Pronteau — Waking up one minute before the alarm clock goes off.
Others might include turning on the shower and realizing the water is already hot, connecting your phone to the charger right before it dies, getting home and realizing that someone else replenished the supplies, getting to a restaurant or bar and finding out it’s still Happy Hour, and checking out at the cash register and realizing everything is way cheaper than you thought.
Some retail stores actually prey on the last one, by offering "secret discounts" in addition to the posted discount. This strategy is gaining in popularity in the U.S. As an example, for the $20 item you buy that has a half-off discount, you may also have a register discount of another 20 per cent — meaning the $20 item rings in at $8. The cashier then tells you there was another discount added and the store addiction/shopping addiction begins.
Don’t ask me how I know this. Let’s just say, the shoppers in my house love their little victories. And I hope you do, too.
Laura Beasse Cloet
Candi Zastre Hammond
Ashley Kullberg Desrochers
JOKE THIS WEEK
A soldier at the Pentagon got out of the shower, and realized that his clothes were missing. While searching around for them, he accidentally locked himself out of the locker room, and found himself completely naked in the halls of the world’s most powerful military organization HQ. But, luckily, no one was around to see him.
So, he ran as fast as he could to the elevator. When it arrived, it was empty. He breathed a sigh of relief and got in. When the doors opened on his floor, there was no one waiting outside.
"This must be my lucky day," he said to himself. He was now only a few yards from his office.
Suddenly, he heard footsteps coming from around the corner. He heard the General’s voice. There was no way he’d make it to his door in time, so he ducked into the closest office available, and found himself in the laboratory for Research and Development. The head scientist looked up from one of her experiments with puzzled interest.
The soldier thought quickly, stood up straight and saluted.
"I am here to report the partial success of the Personal Invisibility Device," he said.
"I see," the head scientist said. "But the Shrink Ray seems to be working perfectly."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 23, 2014