The Silver Lining

Posted: March 19, 2013 in General, Philosophy

Over the weekend, my wife and I finally made it out to the theater to see the movie Silver Linings Playbook with Bradley Cooper.  Over the last few years I’ve seen Bradley Cooper in a variety of roles, and while I don’t think it was his best performance as an actor, it certainly far surpassed The Hangover, The Hangover 2, and I’m sure The Hangover 3 as well (although it’s not out yet, I’ve heard it’s on its way).

Note: this blog is NOT about Bradley Cooper.

That being said, the movie is about a guy who found his wife cheating on him, went a little crazy and nearly beat to death the ‘other man,’ then spent eight months in a mental hospital.  The movie begins with that guy (Bradley Cooper) getting out of the hospital, and is about his adventures into returning to “normal life,” whatever that means.  But while he was in the hospital, part of his therapy revolved around the idea of finding the silver lining in everything, no matter how bad.  A really nice message, but a pretty intense movie.  Probably worth the money to see it in theaters, depending on your taste.

It sure is nice when there’s a silver lining to whatever is troubling you.  Here’s a good example: a few years ago I was two-thirds of the way through a lease on Ford Fusion, and the payments were very high.  Now, we were by no means hurting for money, but we thought on many occasions, “gee, if only my car payment was $80/month less than what it is now, that would be great.”  And there were times that the budget was a bit tight—not all the time, but every now and then—and I remember thinking to myself, “if I got into a car accident but didn’t get seriously injured, and they totaled my car, that would be an easy way out of this high car payment.”  It didn’t mean I wanted to get into an accident.  Rather, if the traffic gods saw it fit that I wreck that car, then so be it, I wouldn’t feel slighted.

So as fate would have it, I did get into an accident on my way to work one morning.  No one else was involved, and I wasn’t even sore afterwards.  But, there was only $5,000 in damage, which wasn’t enough to total it.  And the traffic gods pointed at me and laughed.  I’m assuming that the gods that the traffic gods report to got angry at them being so mean, and probably angry at me thinking I’d skate by so easily, and 7 weeks later to the day, only a couple weeks after having my shiny repaired car back, I got into another accident in the same area, at the same time of day, under the same driving conditions.  That one did involve another driver (who, thank God, was not hurt), and I was in pain for about a month afterward.  It wasn’t a total loss to me because, well, I guess in insurance speak, it was a total loss…they wrecked my car and I got out of that high payment.  Silver lining.

Often times the silver lining isn’t worth it, or at least, it isn’t enough to make you feel better.  Was a month of pain worth the $960 I saved that year?  I could make arguments either way.  I’ve had a lot of conversations with folks over the last year who have been complaining about their job.  Not the whiny kind of complaining, but the constructive complaining, or venting, about what they deal with on a daily basis (names will be omitted to protect the innocent).  And lately, I’ve been in a kind of professional slump where I don’t feel like I’m bringing much to the table at my job.  What I’ve attempted to do for those who have vented to me, and what I’m working on doing now, is looking for silver linings in all of the slump.  Sure, your boss is an asshole, but the guy who sits next to you is pretty awesome.  Or, it may suck to work all those extra hours, but think how nice that overtime will be on your next paycheck.

The moral of the story is this: we all have slumps (or at least, I sure hope we do—because if not, I sure have more than my fair share).  Think of it as an opportunity to rediscover a hobby you used to love, or something you find rewarding.  If you love it a lot, maybe you can make a few dollars from it.  I recently started tutoring with a new family and after two meetings am enjoying the hell out of it.  But there’s also value in being in the slump, and I don’t want to take away from that.  Sometimes the best medicine for a slump is sitting at your desk, with a nice cup of coffee in hand, and sulking a little bit.  You can have those days too, just try not to make a habit out of it…you may end up not having a chair in which to sulk.

I know my last post was awhile ago, and for that I apologize.  It’s been crazy at work and things are starting to slow down again.  I appreciate you checking back in, and as always, be well and stay tuned.

  1. Chelsea says:

    “You can have those days too, just try not to make a habit out of it…you may end up not having a chair in which to sulk.”
    Favorite sentence.

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