Best of times, worst of times


Lucia Rivera

Sometimes we would like to have clear-cut good and bad days, but life isn’t like that. Instead we should appreciate the good that stands out among the bad.

Last Saturday was not my best day. I was feeling sick, frustrated with myself and frustrated with the world. My emotional state that day could also be called “understandable angst a year into the pandemic.”

Then, I got the email that changed my life. Okay, maybe not my life but definitely my afternoon; “Fw: Included with your Amazon order: Free 90 days of music.” As a non-user of Spotify music, I was ecstatic to be getting 90 days of “unlimited” music. I paused my reading to quickly cash this free trial, as if my good luck might dissipate any minute. 

As the calming, yet energetic music made its way out of my phone I couldn’t help but reflect—on that day, when I was feeling so thoroughly frustrated, I was also granted a mini-dream come true. 

My invisible pit of dissatisfaction and self-pity was permeable. A spark of joy made its way to me, with just some coincidental good luck. But it’s not just something that happened last Saturday. The good is mixed with the bad all the time.

Life isn’t a manufactured product that we can return when we find the defects, but it isn’t entirely flawed either.”

— Lucia Rivera

In fact, sometimes the best surprises come on our “worst” days. Sometimes the best of times and worst of times are actually the same time and we have to take it all mixed up like it is.

After accessing my treasure trove of ad-free unlimited music, I rolled off of my bed and thought, “How can I be so sad when something so great just happened?” Okay, my problems didn’t just magically disappear. I was still sick and stressed, but my negative emotions felt subdued. 

It wasn’t until later that I realized I should be used to this contradictory serendipity of life. My day-to-day experiences are a perfect example. 

In general, this pandemic has been challenging for me and my family. I haven’t seen any friends or extended family in person in months, not to mention the struggles of distance learning. 

Yet, because of distance learning, I have an unusually small workload that grants me an average of eight hours of sleep a night. Because of the pandemic’s derailment of university and work life, I’ve also gotten to spend my days at home with my older sister, younger brother and mother.

Some people call these things silver linings, other people seem not to notice them. I adore them. These breaks among the clouds are what make a bad day more okay. They ease the uncontrollable disappointments of life and my experiences this past year have made me all the more grateful for them.

I could choose to see this pandemic as the worst time of my life, and my black and white mind could incline me to do so. If I did, however, I would lose appreciation for the positive moments that create a lot of grey areas. Life isn’t a manufactured product that we can return when we find the defects, but it isn’t entirely flawed either. For me, the most important thing is to recognize the good when it comes, and maybe even save some for later.