The Bright Side: Back on track

Published 8:59 am Sunday, November 5, 2023

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I’ve always been one to offer advice to anyone and everyone who seeks it (sometimes even those who don’t), but I struggle to digest my own guidance. There are days I am down in the dumps and can’t seem to carve my way out no matter how vibrant the bright side of my situation is. My best friend told me about a month ago that it’s okay to throw ourselves a pity party every once in a while, as long as the event has an end time.

Everything seems to go haywire all at once, doesn’t it? My mom used to say bad things come in threes – she has always leaned on the side of superstitious, whereas I do not. I don’t believe in coincidences, but I do believe everything happens for a reason – those reasons not pertaining to the fact that we walked under a ladder or opened up an umbrella inside. However, October had its rough spots, and I was starting to think maybe I did something to cause the downward spiral I was experiencing.

Mid-month our septic system was acting funky. At first, we thought it was the GFI that the septic was plugged into that had blown. After several attempts to fix what we thought was faulty, the system still wouldn’t work when plugged in. Then our toilets started to malfunction and we knew something more was going on. Upon calling a septic company to come over and check out what was going on, we found out our septic pump had failed. That was hit number one.

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As a full-time real estate agent, I know our market is not in great shape right now. I’ve been fortunate this year in that my clients have come across great opportunities in terms of purchases. It has led me to become much more flexible as an agent and adaptive to this roller coaster of a career. I came across a potential listing early in the month and was excited about the opportunity to list. Things were going really well … until they weren’t. After getting a second opinion, the sellers decided to move forward with someone else. I told myself to not take it personally, but this is my livelihood, so, how couldn’t I? Strike two.

Our new puppy has been such a joy to have around, and has benefited our two-year old pup more than we could have imagined. She has also come with some stomach issues, and we’ve been visiting the vet almost every week. Not only does she get car sick (and we tend to travel a lot with our dogs), but she can’t seem to kick an upset stomach a few times a week. This leads to some late nights and a good amount of mess to clean up. Not to mention, this was going on at the same time we were dealing with the septic system and I lost a client. Three big things. I was touching my breaking point.

I remember calling my mom really early in the morning on a Thursday. “I just don’t think I can do it anymore,” I told her. “I think I did something to cause this.” She chuckled a little and asked how that could be. I told her I didn’t know, but all of this had to be a negative effect of something I had said or done. “No, Danielle,” she started, “I think it’s just a bad week. And you’re going to have those sometimes. And it’s going to feel like the end of the world, but once you’re on the other side of it, it’ll be something to laugh about later.” I thought about it for a second, took a deep breath, and admitted she was right.

Sometimes it feels impossible to see the light when we’re in a dark place. All we want to do when things are going all wrong is to dig a little hole, crawl in, and not come out until things are fixed. The reality is, we have to keep going. We will get through it, that’s true. But we can take some time – a few minutes, or an hour, or a whole day – and throw ourselves a pity party. We can cry or spit out our frustrations to the sea or isolate ourselves for a bit to cool off and regroup. We’re allowed to feel bad for ourselves for a bit. But then, after we’ve given ourselves that time to cope with what is, we have to get up, brush ourselves off, and walk out of the party.

The truth is, I didn’t intentionally cause bad things to happen. Bad things find us sometimes, and they shake things up for a little while. But then they end, and life gets back on track. We just have to be there to meet the car when it gets back on the steady course.

Our septic pump was fixed with a couple days. Our puppy has been better for a couple weeks now. I received a call from a new client within 48 hours of losing my other one. The cloud parted, literally, and the sun came out the next day. I laughed to myself as I drove to the gym the next morning, thinking about how one day the world could feel like it’s falling apart but the next day it feels whole again.

I decided to take my own advice and look back during that time of chaos and see all of the good things that we happening along the way: my relationship with my husband has grown so much stronger, several people called me to tell me their health was on the up and up, I made some new friends, I made time for people I care about, I got myself back to the gym, and I still took time to enjoy my favorite month of the year. All these things were clouded during my pity party, but became clearer once I walked out of it. I stopped dwelling and started living again. And now I feel better prepared for the next storm. Now, I’m back on track.

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at