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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Take walk on flip side at sunset

By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Columnist

It never fails. When anyone comes back from Vegas, the first question out of everyone's mouth is: "So, did you win?"

Because to many of us, winning megabucks is the ultimate dream. We can quit our jobs, buy a vineyard and maybe some Jimmy Choo shoes and never have to worry about anything again.

Or so we think.

We've all heard the cliche: Money can't buy happiness. That's probably true. But we could all think of a lot of things to buy with that money that would make us pretty slap-happy.

So we daydream often between meetings about hitting the progressive on Quartermania and make a list of the ways we'd blow it after deducting taxes.

(This is why we yell, "No deal!" at our TV sets.)

But really and I don't mean to get all Pollyanna-ish here we probably have more to be thankful for than we realize.

Sure, some of us waste hours every day sitting in traffic, heading back to homes we don't own in vehicles that cost more to run now than heating small countries.

Worse, some of us may not have jobs, beds or cable bills to complain about.

It's easy for us to wonder about the good life and why we don't have one.

But take a step back and maybe a deep breath and you'll see that life really isn't so bad.

Maybe you have a regular poker group that spends more time eating than playing.

Maybe you surf before heading to the office.

Maybe you actually have a job that brings more than just a paycheck a dose of fulfillment, too.

Hey, that ain't too bad.

My mom has (repeatedly) told me that life isn't always fair, easy or controllable.

Doing the right thing never guarantees the raise, the award, the oceanfront plantation-style home with a wraparound lana'i and sundeck.

But on the flip side, life can be full of unexpected wonderfuls like the sunset you catch on your exhausting commute home or the text-message from your girlfriend that reads, "Baby has arrived!"

I admit to getting caught in the nagging need to make my life better. I have to run faster, organize better, make more money. But when I feel that way, I stop and take inventory on what I do have: a steady paycheck; parents who humor me; friends who don't criticize my obsession with "Project Runway"; a car, TV, cell phone and washer/dryer that work.

I really don't need to win megabucks to feel lucky.

Reach Catherine E. Toth at ctoth@honoluluadvertiser.com.