1. Out at dinner: “This meal is giving me instantaneous cellulite.”
What we could be thinking: This food is delicious. This sandwich, with fluffy bread and perfectly melted gruyere is actually a gift from the gods. And it’s a mind-blowing miracle that it exists here on my plate…the result of literally millions of individuals cooperating in the process of planting, growing, producing, transporting, buying, stocking, preparing, and serving this to me. There are billions of people in the world who could never have this meal. 100 years ago, no one could have this meal, because the various ingredients only existed in different corners of the world. Also, I could have dietary restrictions that prohibit me from eating this. God, food is amazing!
2. In traffic: “If we don’t move in ten minutes that SUV in front of me is going to know the meaning of pain.”
What we cold be thinking: Thank you, Universe, for radios, where I can listen to hilarious stories on This American Life, or cheesy pop songs that are secretly awesome. Or, for my smart phone, which allows me to play any song wherever I am, which is actually a miracle of science. Thank you for heat and A/C, and the fact that I don’t have to trudge through the rain to get home, or sit on a crowded bus that lurches at every red light. And for these precious moments of privacy, where I can use the time to think through my day and reflect, or just belt this Queen song off-key at the top of my lungs.
3. When we have tons of work to do: “I will cry if one more bullet point even thinks about worming its way onto my to-do list”
What we could be thinking: Hard as it is sometimes, it’s ultimately nice that other people trust me with responsibility. It’s flattering that they think I’m the person for the job. How long did I wait to feel this way growing up? How great will it be when I finally get a promotion, or achieve the dream I’ve been working towards for a lifetime? I’d rather this than the alternative–no job at all, with none of the satisfaction that comes from achieving my goals, and nothing to do but lay around the house feeling lame.
4. With an absurdly attractive person: “Life is disgustingly unfair.”
What we could be thinking: What a beautiful person. How nice to enjoy the presence of her smile and goddess-like hair, that makes me feel as though as I walked into a Grecian painting. Alternatively, how about not over-thinking her appearance in the first place. I wonder what her personality’s like? Is she funny? Does she also get insecure when she eats too much and has to suck in for the rest of the night? Would she enjoy the story about my falling asleep on a stranger on my last flight? Let’s find out.
5. When we’re looking in the mirror and telling our best friend “Hey girl, I think my butt’s gettin’ big.”
What we could be thinking: Heck yeah, it is!