The Power of At Least

If you are an adult reading this, chances are that there is a lot in your life that is less than ideal. Maybe you have one too many bills to pay, perhaps you haven’t found your ‘true love’ or modern day version of ‘tinder dude/ tinderella’ yet, or you suffer from the usual you hate your job/boss/’insert another modern day millennial stereotype.’

All in all, it’s quite likely that you are less than absolutely 100% satisfied with your life and/or want it to be better. And on the off chance that you are happy with your life, there must be moments where you, simply put, hate everything/everyone.

What is this? Has Aditi finally embraced the dark side and become a pessimist you say? No. Well, not really. Perhaps a realist. Or more like a realist with hope. So here’s the thing. In the last eight months a lot of shit has gone down in my life. And basically things have been hard. Health wise, family wise, love life wise (mostly done with Indian men on #tinder) etc. And yes, I have dealt with it as best as I can. And honestly, I think I have done a decent job. I am not patting myself on the back yet but then again all of this hasn’t pushed me to contemplate suicide either. So yeah, I think I have done alright in the eye of the storm.

Though just to be clear, the purpose of this post isn’t to portray myself ( to the barely existent audience) as someone who is mega cool who doesn’t get phased with shit and neither is it to talk about how I braved the adversities in my life. It is something much simpler and perhaps small but definitely one that can be the straw that you grab onto when you are drowning.

Given that I do belong to that rare, swiftly dwindling group of people who still believe that everything happens for a reason and everything will eventually work out, when I was going through shit, I did try and dig deep for that burst of optimism and faith that would get me through stuff. One of the things that people often recommend (there are literally dozens of articles and lots of research to back this up) is to ‘count your blessings’ or to practice gratitude (you can watch some of these videos here and here). And I did try that. But to be honest, it sometimes helped and more often than not, it felt like an empty promise along the lines of ‘I know your life is crap but you should be grateful for the food on your plate or the roof over your head’ and yes, those are things to be absolutely grateful for but the problem is, when you are really down in the dumps, this kind of extreme comparison of ‘look on the bright side’ seldom makes one feel better.

What I found was that the cheaper, more uncouth, country cousin version of gratitude starting with ‘at least’ actually worked better.  On days when I would literally want to just stay in, in a darkened room with drawn curtains and sad songs playlists on repeat, somewhere between eating an entire packet of Choco fills cookies and crying while mouthing lyrics to Sia’s Elastic Heart, I would think, ‘well at least I have internet to be able to watch this’. And that would make me feel just a tad bit better. And then I began noticing ‘at least’ version of things more often. On a crap day at work, I would think ‘well, at least I remembered to get my headphone to be able to blast music to make work bearable/drown out insufferable colleagues’ or when I would have a really shitty day I’d tell myself ‘ at least the neighborhood café is open till midnight to feed my caffeine addiction’ and on days when I absolutely detested everything and everyone, I’d tell  myself ‘well, at least there is Buzzfeed.

So the point I am trying to make is this: sometimes the all or nothing, extreme version of things doesn’t really do much to get you out of the slump. Sometimes, it really is the metaphorical feeble, thin, wispy straw of ‘at least’ that gives you the strength to frantically go on paddling when you are drowning in the pool of life. And here’s the thing, you don’t even have to be going through shit to notice these ‘at least’ versions of things.  They are always around. Like that small change lying ignored at the bottom of your bag or at the edge of your nightstand which comes in really handy when you need exact change for the auto/parking guy.  And that is what has made my otherwise-normal-problem-riddled-adult-life more than just bearable. It’s not perfect but at least I have Wi-Fi and a blog to rant on.

  • Aditi Vyas

Aditi is a policy wonk who swears by chocolate filled anything.

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