Let’s imagine that for some strange reason you are feeling sorry for yourself. Of course, this may be a stretch for some since we all know full well that humans tend not to be the kind of species who can be down on themselves or self-judgmental. No, of course not. Little burning suns of joy are we! But bear with me and see if you can stretch your imagination. If you happened to be in one of these black holes of joy sucking quagmires, you may begin to search for ways to pull yourself out. You may think back on a memory, or remind yourself of an upcoming event that you’ve been looking forward to, maybe sneak a square of chocolate, or seven. But still, you can feel that voice in the back of your head grow a little louder, a little more vicious. You begin to feel the despair. You feel like there’s no turning back now. That snow ball is rolling down the mountain that just an hour again was just a little hill and now has suddenly become the Mount Everest of negative human emotion. Well shit… what now?

There it is. Now. What can happen right now?

I woke up this morning with a sore throat. The kind that has no other symptoms (read: PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SACRED AND ALL THE MONEY THAT I THREW AT THIS INSANE TRIP LET NO OTHER SYMPTOMS DEVELOP) but is nonetheless there and makes your voice sound somewhere between a politician who’s on their 17th campaign rally in ten days (looking at you HRC), and someone who incessantly clears their throat even when there’s nothing to clear. Annoying. Kind of painful. Scary considering all the singing to be done. WHY NOW?? Damn. We’re back to “now”. This morning also came with waking up in my friend’s beautiful new home that they are so excited to have you in. In Holland. (Sam. YOU’RE IN HOLLAND.) A breakfast of porridge, yogurt, and homemade black currant jam, and tea. Oh, and you eat it all while looking at the bush where those currants came from. (Do farmers get the same kind of “this is lovely” feeling when they look out at their livestock while eating steak?) So, what did I do with now? I ate my breakfast, smiled uncontrollably, talked about dialectal accents of Holland, Ireland, and America with my friends, and never brought up the fear welling up in me because of this touch of pharyngitis I’m experiencing. Suck it up? No, that’s not quite right. Get over yourself, enjoy, appreciate, and take that hubris out the door like a smelly bag of trash? Absolutely.

Let’s be real, we all have the ability to feel sorry for ourselves. I’m surprised more infants don’t say “Why me?” as their first words. (Does anyone else wish they could remember how awesome it must have felt to be in the womb? It’s like the coziest B&B and you don’t even have to move to be fed. Bliss.) But sometimes, you get lucky and you can actually manage to catch yourself before you jump off that ledge of “poor me”. The next step is taking a moment to appreciate that you managed it rather than wishing you could manage it more often. Enjoy the small victory. After all, you still have to go manage that sore throat, that missed alarm, that snide comment someone made, that forgotten email to send. But a “bump in the road” moment doesn’t have to color the entire day.

By the way, this post was entirely inspired by how awesome that black currant jam was. I’m not saying jam saved the day but… jam saved the day.

Cheers from Arnhem, friends!