Service of Looking on the Bright Side

March 10th, 2014

Categories: Bright Side, Daylight Savings Time, Hope, Silver Lining

When things aren’t going my way I try to look for the bright side—there’s so often a silver lining if not for me, then for someone. It helps divert a train of thought headed towards gloom.

Lighten Up

Feeling exhausted because you lost an hour due to the Daylight Savings time change? Some will be grateful to leave work in daylight.

Park It

Those who park on city streets on the east coast must celebrate this difficult winter. They’ve enjoyed weeks of forgiveness from alternate side of the street parking rules.

I did this for only a short time years ago. What a rat race it was zipping out early to grab a spot and sitting in the car until 8 a.m. adding to morning chores of walking the dog and getting dressed so as to arrive at work on time. And on certain evenings there was another car deadline to add to all those at the office which involved a heart-in-throat dash back home to move the car and grab a good spot only to begin again the next day.

Quiet Mice

Speaking of rodents—as in rat races–or more precisely, mice, homes and apartments prone to these pesky mammals have benefited from the cold. I don’t know where they’ve gone but we’ve seen evidence of almost none this winter. That meant a huge savings on mousetraps. I’m chicken so we use an expensive trap. I’ve saved literally $100s in addition to not having to deal with them which is best of all.

What’s in a Name?

Anyone watching the Oscars last week knows that John Travolta’s mispronunciation of singer Idina Menzel’s name—Adele Dazeem is what he called her–gave her far more traction than had he mouthed her name correctly in introducing her [photo left] and her song. I’m sure Travolta wished that people had done what the song’s title suggests: “Let it Go.” From Sunday night through the next day his faux pas was repeated far and wide on traditional and social media.

You are Cordially Invited

I love having something fun to look forward to. We’re invited to a St. Patrick’s party with appropriate food at the home of great friends whose other guests are consistently lovely too. Can’t wait!

I Can’t Believe I Did That

When you can’t forgive yourself for a dastardly act or mistake, think of Pope Francis who admitted to taking a cross from the open casket of his dead confessor. The cross was on the priest’s rosary. Pope Francis kept it in his pocket until his dress changed to wearing a cassock so now he hangs it from a pouch underneath it. He reaches for it when “a bad thought comes to my mind about someone,” Nicole Winfield wrote in “Pope confesses he stole his late confessor’s cross in hopes of having half as much mercy” that I read in her Associated Press story on the Minneapolis Star Tribune website.

If things aren’t dire or excessively bleak–in which case little but time helps—does thinking of silver linings help you emerge from the blues?

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12 Responses to “Service of Looking on the Bright Side”

  1. EAM Said:

    You offer some great examples esp. Idina Menzel. The upside there is while she was so well known in the Broadway community, this exposure has given her national recognition. When people complain to me about work etc, I often say “OK, so now tell me one good thing that you love about your job.” And often when they can do that, they get present to their purpose of working there.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    What a great idea! Too often I’m not as charitable–or smart–when some folks complain about their great jobs. [Obviously if someone is working for or with an ogre…or at a horrible place…I can help by listening.] Regardless, I will take a page from your book next time.

    And I should have noted in the post what you did about I. Menzel. Thanks.

  3. ASK Said:

    I prefer to remain grumpy…for a little while at least, then get on with it. But, I don’t really understand how anyone copes with alternate side of the street parking!

  4. Lucrezia Said:

    Sometimes there is no bright side, or at least no visible one, so how about heavy physical activity which features a number of positive results? Another, is treating oneself to a comforting drink (best not alcohol) and/or a long desired object – but let’s not go overboard on the expense, a sure path to future dark clouds.

    There are as many views of “the bright side” as there are people. I admit to not looking for one, since I see it as an illusion, far removed from fact. That’s right folks – I’m off to the local friendly espresso bar…..accompanied by a good book!

  5. Hank Goldman Said:

    At the risk of sounding MUNDANE in response to your excellent question—- Have you seen the Hollywood film, “Silver Linings Playbook”? It exudes ‘Bright side” feelings! All in the light of internal monsters, and insanity, and bad choices, AND “the blues”!!!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree with you re. alternate side of the street parking. The reason I thought of it is that at the beginning of this punishing winter, someone I know mentioned that she wouldn’t have to move the car that day. As I continued to hear dire weather and traffic reports I’d listen to learn if she was forgiven from alternate side of the street parking yet again.

    A Manhattan garage might add $600 plus tips to your monthly expenses….It could be time to leave the car at the RR station during the week [she has a condo in Long Island] and take the train. That’s what we do.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Your suggestions are sound. I love a fruit smoothie made with yogurt. Too many places make watery ones filled with ice that turn the treat into a watery thing that neither soothes nor chases the grumps. Trust when you return from the espresso bar your book and coffee will have done the trick if you’re going for more than a pick-me-up and a break.

    I can’t say that I turn to exercise, but I do go for a brisk walk and sometimes that helps. Getting away from “it all” can clear my mind. During a brief jaunt I’ve discovered yet another solution to what’s troubling.

    Also, talking out the situation with a friend can do wonders.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’ll add “Silver Linings Playbook” to my list of “to do/to see.” Sounds like it has it all.

  9. Martha Takayama Said:

    Your post itself is a silver lining filled with humor and therefore brightness. By just asking us to consider the positive when the unfortunate occurs you begin to shift our focus towards better possibilities.

    The surreal or other worldly Travolta gaffe does remind me also of the “All publicity is good” school of thinking.

    I often have to force myself to try to turn my thoughts around when faced with unpleasantness, and also often look to my Carioca (inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro) relatives who raise humor in the light of mishaps to an art form. Irreverence can also help one find silver linings.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    As EAM pointed out, I made a big mistake by not noting that Ms. Menzel was a largely unknown voice [ohhhh a pun] outside the world of Broadway and that in this case, any publicity, even for the wrong reasons, was better than none. As a rule, especially if the publicity is negative, I don’t agree with this school of thought.

    Humor helps for sure. A good laugh is like a powerful windshield wiper in a bad storm.

  11. Mike Pangloss Said:

    Your positive take on such a diverse collection of potentially miserable missteps led me to think longingly of that engaging 18th century French cynic, François-Marie Arouet, who under his better known pen name, “Voltaire”, was the creator of such immortal concepts as that this is “the best of all possible worlds”, which it sure isn’t, and that each of us ought “to cultivate our own garden”, which we are not about to do if we can litter in somebody else’s instead.

    Thinking about Voltaire, led me to think fondly of my favorite and truly authentic American author, Sam Clements, who under his better known pen name, “Mark Twain”, was a sharper judge in writing of what made his fellow Americans tick, than anybody here who came before or after him. A fatally flawed sucker for every two bit “get rich quick” scheme that came near him, he was never able to apply his superb “reality check” insights to protect himself.

    He, in turn, led me to that ultimate great master of “reality”, Luigi Pirandello. Anyone who had the privilege of seeing Vittorio Gassman play “Enrico IV”, as I did many, many years ago in Milan, must inevitably be left wondering whether this great dramatist really did exist, or is ”Luigi Pirandello” really just the pen name of some extraterrestrial Apollo.

    All of which, I must concede, makes me admit that you are right. Silver linings help, no matter how dismal the situation or unlikely the circumstances. “Out, out damned [reality].”

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    In her Pollyanna book series Eleanor H. Porter also tossed her hat in the ring early in the 20th century. Like love and crime, the theme is a popular one.

    Where I got into the habit was years ago when ironing on Sunday evening listening to Norman Vincent Peale, then pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in NYC. His sermons, probably taped earlier in the day of “You can do it!” have stayed with me for several reasons: 1) His message convinced me–he was truly an inspirational speaker 2) In retrospect, I realize that my mother had a similar philosophy. As she might also have said, [in a different context], “it’s better than the alternative.”

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