Today has been an exercise in perspective.

1. Last night, I broke a crown. Eating popcorn — the fluffy part.* So not only do I have to take time off from work (of which I have little, thanks to this spring’s sinus plague) and go to the dentist (never fun), but my regular dentist is out for the foreseeable future due to shoulder surgery and his temporary replacement was maybe 2 when I got this crown in the first place. (She also, I’ve learned, doesn’t believe in letting anesthetic kick in before beginning work, which is the real source of my hesitation. Dental work is traumatic enough as it is.) So I’m going to an out-of-network dentist an hour away to get this crown replaced. And paying for it up front. Mere months after taking out a loan to help me pay off the credit card I’m about to charge back up.

Perspective, though. This crown lasted nearly 20 years. If I get it fixed right, I’ll be 60 before I have to deal with it again. Worth it.

2. My major freelance client is offering me additional work. Lots of up sides here: It’s a compliment to my work — an honor to be singled out and recognized this way. The first project is small, so it’s easy to squeeze in. It’s not much by itself, but it could lead to more work. More lucrative work. And while I’m stretched translucently thin as it is, this is one more step towards freelancing full time, on my terms.

So I’m not looking at this small (less than $100) payment in terms of the large ($1300) payment I’m about to make. I’m looking at it as an investment. Like the crown, spending more now will benefit me in the future — time, in this case, instead of money. My goal is to eventually freelance exclusively, working 6 hours or less a day, so I can spend more time being a mom. Taking on jobs like this will go a long way towards that goal. So even if I have to lose a little sleep, it’s also well worth it.

Not so long ago, I would have been fixated on that $1300; everything else would be echos in the tunnel. Now I’m more concerned with the upsides. I don’t know if this is age or wisdom, but I’m happy for it either way.

UPDATE: Turns out I didn’t have to get the crown replaced after all. A chunk is missing, but it’s “in the best possible place,” I’m told. So he smoothed out the jagged edge…for free. I’ll have to replace it eventually, but not now. Maybe not for a few years.

Suddenly freed from the $1300 I had expected to spend, I took my family out for ice cream and a play session at the park. Because I am a firm believer in celebrating the little things.

*Popcorn is not my friend. I swore off it for years after an errant hull led me to gum surgery — in this exact same tooth. I just started eating it again a month or so ago. Now I’m thinking I should swear off it again.


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