When everything is shaken up, finding that silver lining isn't always easy. As they say, when it rains, it pours, and in the midst of all the chaos, it can feel like you're going to be stuck in that situation forever.
It's safe to say we've had a bumpy few weeks - we were tested with a string of bad luck and things were not going our way. On that unfortunate Wednesday morning, we were awoken by the fire alarm and ran out of our apartment to find the world's biggest waterfall engulfing our hallway. "OH MY GOD, THERE'S A FIRE!" I screamed. Water was flowing left, right, and centre. As we reached the lobby, we found another waterfall streaming down the elevator shaft and seeping out of all the windows. We discovered that it was not a fire (thank goodness), but actually a burst water pipe on our floor that effectively flooded the whole building. Including our apartment.
We returned to our house to find water everywhere. Fortunately, none of our stuff got destroyed, but since there was so much water (this photo doesn't really do it justice, but trust me, there was a LOT), the damage was extensive. To cut a long story short, we've had to move out of our beautiful home and find a new place to live for the next 5 months until the house becomes livable again.
To add salt to the wound, we'd only just moved into that place - literally 6 weeks before. Finding a rental like this is like finding a needle in a haystack. We were back to square one, scouring Craigslist all day long, getting our hopes up for places that in real life, looked, smelled, and felt 100 times worse than our soggy, flooded apartment. And, ironically, they cost twice as much too. Crazy, hey? If you've ever tried hunting for a decent, short-term rental in Vancouver in summer, lemme tell you now, it is a horrible game.
You may be thinking, "It's just a house", but honestly, it's so much more than that. It's the only home we have here - our other house is 5,000 miles away - and a settled & stable home means we can put all our efforts into achieving other things. When your home life is disrupted and there are so many variables that you can't control, it's the most frustrating feeling ever and it impacts everything else.
In the middle of all the uncertainty, it felt hard to see any good coming from the situation. My phone died that day so I had to buy a new one (more $$), and Matt managed to chop off the end of his thumb which was REALLY freaking bloody! Let's just say it was not a good day! Through all of it, I kept telling myself, "There's a silver lining somewhere, something good will come of this, just wait for it." I held onto the hope, and eventually, 2 weeks later, after the stress of finances, house hunting, insurance companies, packing and unpacking, and fixing up thumbs, the silver lining finally shone through.
I woke up last week and caught the most beautiful sunrise from our balcony, and I realized, that was the silver lining. Now we're settled in our new place, I can look back with clarity and appreciate how we're benefitting from this. Getting to eat my breakfast with such gorgeous views of the city doesn't quite rectify the stress of this unfortunate situation, but it's definitely a nice consolation prize.
When you're in the middle of a crappy situation - whatever it may be - staying positive can be hard. Here are my best tips for finding that silver lining and how to stop frustration getting the better of you:
Remember, it could be worse.
While your situation could be better, it could also be worse. Our belongings could have all been ruined or it could have been a fire like we first thought. We could have not had tenant insurance (tip: make sure you get insurance!) which would have put even more pressure on our finances. It wasn't the best situation, but it could have been worst.
Scream, then let it go.
When you're feeling frustrated, it's good to have a good scream. Let it all out, then let it go. Clear your body of all that anger so you can deal with the issue, rather than letting your emotions take over.
Focus on the bigger picture.
When something big goes wrong, nothing lines up anymore. It puts you off your game, you lack focus, and everything falls out of sync. Take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. Don't get wrapped up in the small annoying details as you'll end up going insane.
Hug it out.
Sometimes, a good hug is all it takes to lift the world off your shoulders. Don't keep it all to yourself - express your love, share your feelings, and make sure you squeeze a few good cuddles into your day. You'll feel loads better, promise!
Be kind to yourself.
Look after yourself. Maintain a good, balanced diet. Avoid binge eating and skipping meals, but don't be afraid to treat yourself. If eating that donut will make you feel better, go eat that donut. Don't deny yourself of the little things that make you happy.
When you're trying to fix a problem, change becomes an inevitability. Embrace it, don't fight it. Be open to new things, new ways, and new solutions, and good things will happen.
Laughter is often the best medicine for a bad situation. It relieves tension, stress, and I guarantee it'll make you feel a tiny bit better.
Learn, and grow.
Ultimately, it's all a huge learning curve. Bad situations are designed to test us and challenge our strength. You may not see it when you're in the midst of the madness, but you will learn from the experience and come out stronger on the other side.
Commit to finding the silver lining.
It might take some time to make an appearance, but hold tight and hang in there - because I promise, there's a silver lining somewhere.