author Jackie Madden Haugh talks about having the right perspective in lifeDressed to kill for the pity party of a lifetime one recent Friday night, I sat on my couch in dirty socks, faded pink flannel PJ’s, and my hair swept up on top of my head in an itty bitty ponytail. Opening a bottle of Rombauer Chardonnay and turning up the volume to Celine Dion’s hit, “All By Myself,” I proceeded to sob hysterically.

It wasn’t that one bad thing had happened. It was just an accumulation of the day-to-day minutia that suddenly felt too heavy to handle.

Pulling one tissue after another out of the box, I grieved over everything that was weighing me down. It was winter and I was cold. And when I get cold, I gain weight because all I want to do is eat. And when I can’t zip anything up because of a few extra pounds – talk about a reason to cry!

Then there was my 96-year-old roommate who slept constantly. My dad no longer had time for conversation as he caught up on years of missed sleep, leaving my home painfully still.

Just as I was about keel over and die of “Poor Me Syndrome,” I decided to bring out the big guns. Facebook is the perfect salt for any emotional wound. On that site, happy people share stories about the fun trips that they’ve just taken, how wonderful their loving spouses are, and seeing retirement right around the corner. What did I have to share? Unadulterated boredom.

Grabbing the Kleenex and gulping down the last swig of wine, I scrolled through the posts as my green-eyed monster raised her ugly head inside my heart. Suddenly, I was hit with the sting of an imaginary slap across my face quickly pulling me back to reality.

Mixed amongst all the exciting tales was a mother’s cry, for more prayers for her 33-year-old daughter struggling with brain cancer. Taking no prisoners, this beautiful mighty warrior had challenged the disease for four years in the prime of her life leaving no stone unturned. But now things had changed and she truly needed a miracle.

Thinking about her journey, I sat back and took stock of my surroundings. On every shelf and wall of my home, pictures of my four healthy children smiled back at me. What was wrong with me? How could I’ve been so shallow? Okay, maybe my life wasn’t currently exciting and money was always an issue, but in that moment of time, my kids were safe. What more could I want?

As I walked to the bathroom to wipe mascara away that had dripped down my entire face, I wondered why I couldn’t focus on how fortunate I was without this type of wake-up call? Why did it take someone else’s pain to remind me?

I’ve been told this is just being human and that fatigue has an ugly way of distorting everything. Well, if that’s the case, then it’s time I got more sleep because this momentary “woe is me” was unacceptable.

I know we’ve all done it, wallowing over the smallest things, but when do we learn to stop? Do we really need constant reminders that we’re truly blessed?

From this moment on, I hope to be true to my word. When I feel that urge to “party on” over what life doesn’t bring (and it will come again), I plan to grab a recent photo of my children and scream “Life is great!” And then take a nap so I attend the real party dressed appropriately.