When many go wrong at the same time

If all is really not well and you’re having trouble staying together despite these temporary setbacks, then you’re juggling life.

Was there ever a time when more things went wrong in the world? How could so many wrongs not have a direct impact on our lives? Well, like it or not, it has an impact. And if something more is added to the mix, it can make things even more difficult, and that’s saying a lot.

For example, I just said “no” to a publisher who wanted me to write a book for him. This has never happened before. They just asked for too much and offered too little – no big deal, right? Sure, part of me says I’ll never get another offer, but I think that particular fear is pretty normal among creatives. Still, it was an uncomfortable decision but the right one considering what else is going on in the world and in my life.

This experience brought back other memories of people trying to forget me. Yes, I was scammed, lied to and manipulated by people I contracted with and people I loved – and thankfully I survived to tell the tale. Unfortunately, right now I find a lot less than happy with some of today’s COVID-life business practices. To me, it seems like more people are busy than ever before.

For example, our car has traveled almost a hundred thousand kilometers, because trying to buy a new one, even at the listed price, is almost impossible. If you want one now, the price is considerably higher with the new fees added, and online ordering doesn’t really work because there are no cars. So we will have to wait or get a second mortgage. Hey, I’m grateful my car is still running well and I’m ready to wait for the right vehicle (we want to go electric). Again, I can accept it, but the only person happy with it is my mechanic, who now charges more than the dealer. True story, and I don’t think that’s going to change.

If you need a veterinary specialist, as we did recently, they are very hard to find and their fees have also increased. Now they add an additional “emergency” fee (not covered by pet insurance) if you want to see the vet in 10 days. If you don’t pay the fees, the wait is at least a month. I am in the helping profession and have been booked into the rafters, but have never charged extra if someone needed to see me, and I never charge if someone has to cancel at the last minute due to illness – but I had signed three times acknowledging that vet fees were not reimbursable. Oh, and I will never see the vet, because he examined the cat and called us while we were waiting in our car. Now it will take a week to a month before he can do the procedure. On the plus side, he doesn’t think it’s cancer and he’s ready to have the operation, so I’m grateful for that.

Like I said, when there’s too much going on, the whole process is emotionally confusing. I know that many human beings have far worse experiences; many heart and cancer patients have been put on hold due to the pandemic, and many have died as a result. Life is harder than it was; it’s more complicated, more expensive and more frustrating. I feel like we navigate in a different dimension half the time.

It’s important to take a step back. It doesn’t even have to be a positive outlook, but it has to be proactive. Hindsight is about making things better where you can and accepting it as best you can when things don’t go your way. I know it sounds too simple, but for me it helps a bit, and it’s still a work in progress.

The only benefit of having multiple problems is that when one overshadows the others, the others seem less overwhelming. It also sets your priorities. There are so many things you can choose to be angry with at the world right now; maybe you just need to focus on what’s going on in your own little world. At least for now, I know this is the case for me.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, author of seven books, and blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 27 million readers. He practices in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles and is available for video sessions. Join it at [email protected]. His column appears on Sundays and Tuesdays in the News-Press.