The lack of a bad thing is a good thing . . .

November 29, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

Not that I’m feeling down in the dumps, but if I were, I have a method for pulling out of a bad mood. A couple years ago, I wrote a post titled, “I know that I am wealthy when I consider my lack of misfortune.” The general idea is that we should appreciate that the lack of misfortune is fortune.  The lack of a bad thing is a good thing.

It occurred to me today that we have easy access to vast checklists of misfortune, and that it can make one feel lucky, indeed, to consider all the ways in which one is not medically unlucky.  One example is the type of form you are handed when you go to a doctor for the first time, wherein you are asked whether you have any of the following conditions, followed by things such as cancer, heart attack, diabetes, abscessed tooth, Alzheimer’s, hepatitis, pancreatitus, and it goes on and on.   Though I do put a couple of check marks into the boxes, there are thousands of medical conditions that I don’t have, which makes me lucky indeed.

I’m lucky in other ways, because I don’t struggle with any known psychological conditions, and there are hundreds of these too.  For instance, I don’t suffer from bipolar disorder, hypochondriasis, kleptomania or any conditions on this long list. I am not required to take anti-depressants.  I’m happy to get out of bed each day.   I don’t hate my job, my neighbors or my city.  I’m even appreciative of my country, though things are out of balance.  I appreciate that there are ways to make things better regarding my country.

But I’m even luckier.   I don’t struggle to keep any addictions in check, and this list is also extensive, including such things as gambling, OCD, drugs, alcoholism, and coin collecting . . . coin collecting???? I appreciate that I don’t wake up with an urge to go to a casino or to get drunk.  Really and truly, and I’ve never had any such urges.

I’m also lucky that I’m not unemployed in this bad economy. And though it is 13-years old, my car is working well. And my roof is not leaking.   Hoodlums aren’t chasing me down the street at the moment.  I didn’t just get bit by a brown recluse spider.  No warmongering superpower is dropping bombs anywhere near my house.  The electrical service is working well, allowing me to use this computer.   My kids are not failing out of school.  My city is not bankrupt.  I am not currently a victim of identity theft.  The pipes in my house are not leaking.  No neighbors are blasting their stereos outside.  I don’t worry about hurricanes and earthquakes and tornadoes (though maybe I should worry about the latter two).   The lack of each of these bad things is truly a good thing for which I am thankful.

Bottom line is that whatever it is that any of us has to deal with, it could be a lot worse, and a quick review of long lists of disorders and dyfunctions shows us how much worse things could be.

Perhaps this post could be said to constitute some sort of skeptics prayer .. .

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Category: Health, Meaning of Life, Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Edgar Montrose says:

    After a lifetime of being told, “The good news is that there is no more bad news,” I want just once to win the lottery.

  2. Xtech says:

    Perhaps a recitation from the above lists would be a great way to start a Thanksgiving meal 😀

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