I can usually write my way through things like this, but this time, I didn't want to write about it. Any time I tried, it just made me feel worse. So I wrote about other things, or I didn't write at all.
Then, a few weeks ago, Mr. Snarky and I got to take a couple nights away from the kids. My parents came and watched the kids, and Mr. Snarky and I headed to LA, to see a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. (As an aside- if you've never seen a concert at the Hollywood Bowl and get the chance to fix that, take it. It is a truly special venue.) I was sitting there- in a box, because I thought that if we were going to do the Bowl, we should really do it- looking at the stars, enjoying the music, and thinking life is good. And it is. Life is terrible and good, all rolled up into a big mess. And you never know which bit of the mess you're going to get at any one time. It could be an undeniably awesome bit. It could be an unbelievably horrible bit. Most likely, it will be something in between.
And, trite as it is- and believe me, the rest of this post is going to be on the trite side- the answer just came to me. I realized two things:
1. The only hedge against the bad times is to enjoy the good times while you have them.
Me moping around feeling crappy wasn't going to make anyone else's life easier or make them happier. It wasn't going to fix any of the world's problems. It also wasn't going to protect me from getting one of the unbelievably terrible bits of the mess of life next time I stuck my hands in. So I should just let go of the bad stuff, and really enjoy the wonderful life I have right now.
Yes, this is obvious. But apparently, I'd forgotten it.
2. I should pick one thing, and make it better.
No, moping about wouldn't fix anything. But neither would throwing up my hands and declaring the world to be irredeemably screwed up and to have problems too big to solve. There are some really big problems. A lot of them. But I don't have to fix all of them to do some good. I can pick one thing. And I don't even have to completely fix it. I can just try to make it better.
It took me awhile to figure out what to do with that second insight. I mulled over several ideas, but ultimately rejected them as unrealistic given the parameters of my current life. But then I figured it out. I've got ads on this blog, and I do the Amazon Affiliate program. I do that because I am interested in how people might make money off of the content they produce on the internet. I'm interested in that partially because I think we're living in a time of great change for people who make content (and software) and I just want to try to understand the new rules in general, and partially because I have some ideas that I wouldn't mind monetizing at some point, if I could understand enough about the new rules to figure out how.
Therefore, I want to keep my ads and my affiliate links. I may even try some new things out. But they don't make me anywhere near enough money to really matter in our household budget, so I haven't been taking them very seriously. However, they don't make completely trifling amounts of money, either. The money could do some small amount of good in the right hands.
|A bottom that never needed a diaper we didn't have|
I'm going to use my ad money to buy them supplies to be given to their client families. It will probably be diapers and wipes, because I think my "one thing" will be the fact that a lot of families can't afford the diapers they need, or are forced to make terrible choices between diapers and food. At my current rate of cash accumulation, I think I'll be able to send them a box of diapers or wipes once every couple of months. It isn't huge, but it isn't nothing, and I've almost got everything set up to send my first donation. I don't have to solve the problem, but I can make it better.