just the good news please

I was going to catch up with my blog last night but WNED ran 5 episodes back to back of The Forsyte Saga, so there went the evening.

So - another word that is being over-used as a connective or  pause - I’m trying to cut it out.  

So (ignore that) - I told you about CLSA, the Canadian Longitudinal Studies in Ageing, a survey that has been ongoing for at least four years now. I received my second interviews (by phone), in the past several days, three in all, covering physical health, mental and spiritual health, and emotional health - I guess. I fielded some shocking (to me) questions that made me realise how wide and far-reaching the survey must be. They were about physical and financial abuse, none of which I have ever experienced. These questions caused me to review all the questions and my answers. I always answered truthfully to direct, specific questions (“Have you ever been forced or cheated, yes or no"; my answer was always no, a factual, truthful no.) But my responses to more general queries as to my happiness and attitudes were always positive, cheerful and optimistic. I warned my interviewer (three of them, one per session) that I am a glass-half-full kind of person. And then, too, there was my father’s influence.

As you may remember, my father was a doctor. He spent every day listening to people’s complaints and hard-luck stories, and his job was to listen and to make them better, at least to help them as much as he could. When he came home at the end of the day he wanted to hear good news and up-beat stories from his family. It was incumbent upon us to report amusing events and personal achievements (exaggerated if necessary).To this day when I go to a doctor, always and only if I have a problem, and he asks me how I am, i always say, “Just fine!” as brightly as I can.  Later, when the exam begins, I confess to an ache or a pain or a rash or whatever. My father actually sent me to school on two separate occasions, once when I had mumps, and once when I had chicken pox, because I said I felt fine when I didn’t. I was sent home at recess. 

Thus, during the survey concerning my wellbeing, I answered in a positive way, glossing over any minor complaints as being common to everyone. I realised how fortunate I was when made aware of problems that other people on the list apparently had and I didn’t.   But the day after my last interview I was feeling a bit down, depressed, in fact, and realised how much I make light of my (so-called) troubles. It depends, I guess, on what day it is. On the other hand, we see on the daily news what dire fates people in the world are suffering and we know how lucky we are. How can we complain? 

How can we?