When I was younger, I used to get in huge fights with my parents, especially my father. He and I are surprisingly alike, which means that we both know exactly what buttons to push in order to get the other one going. And oh man did we go. Finally, the fight would start to wind down, and I’d be in just about as much trouble as I was likely to get into. Dad would look at me and say “PACE yourself, Carpenter. Positive Attitudes Change Everything.”
I’d be like “Yeah, OK, Dad,” but internally, I’d be like, “WTF?” I didn’t feel that the end of the argument was necessarily the best time to be dispensing this particular piece of fatherly advice . . . especially since it came at the end of EVERY fight we got into, and I’d inevitably be the loser. What was there to be positive about in that?
Now, however, I find myself far from home and smiling as I find another application for his words. My regular readers probably have some sort of an idea of the frustrations I’ve felt since my arrival at post. Unfortunately, a good friend of mine ET’d (ET = Early Termination = going home) last week. Her situation had become untenable, and for various reasons, things weren’t looking to get better.
My friend had done everything she could to make her situation workable. Everything. And it was still impossible. I, however, have done no such thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked incredibly hard, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve been working smart. Positive attitudes change everything, right? Now I’m focusing on making one positive change every day in order to make life here in Benin more tolerable. It’s the little things that count, and it turns out, the little changes aren’t that hard to make.
PACE yourself, Carpenter.
Today’s positive change is buying good coffee.