A couple of Saturdays ago, I was having a bad day. I was feeling down in the dumps and really sorry for myself. I was sad about the death of my Grandfather the week before (totally legitimate) and I was frustrated with the diagnosis of an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos (not the worst autoimmune disease, by far). Still I was letting myself wallow in my own misery for a bit.

And then I had to “put on my big-girl panties,” as my boyfriend likes to say when anyone let’s life get in the way of living, get out of bed to go to a friends for dinner. It was a dinner I’d been looking forward to for weeks. And I was disappointed that I was feeling so bummed. As is the case 95-percent of the time for me, once I got there my mood easily turned. Getting out and around friends and spending time with good people is one of the best distractions and deterrents for a bad mood.

A friend of mine from the Mark Twain House had invited us to her house for a delicious homemade, traditional Indian dinner. It was wonderful. And it was fun to try all the new food. I love Indian food, but everything she served was new to me. The food was scrumptious. The conversation was superb. And the company was sublime.

But it was the company that really turned my mood around.

Another dinner guest who I had never met before and thoroughly enjoyed, gave me some perceptive without even trying. If it hadn’t come up in conversation I would never have known what this woman, only a year younger than me, and her husband were dealing with. They were fun, funny, kind, interesting, positive, and they looked like a beautiful couple. They were all of those things, but they were also having a tough couple of years.

The woman, Karin, has been battling stage-4b Hodgkin Lymphoma for three years (she’s not yet 30). She’d seen chemo, radiation, and three stem cell transplants followed by month-long quarantines for the safety of her immune system. In the course of that time, she’d lost relatives. I can’t imagine handling everything she has been through with the calm and grace she seemed to have. Just earlier that day I was curled up in bed teary-eyed over my new, not-really-my-choice gluten diet that will hopefully benefit my thyroid.

I know it’s okay to feel down in the dumps. And we all lead our own lives and sometimes need to feel bad about the individual things we are going through, but the truth is there is always someone who at any given time is struggling more than we are, who can serve as a reminder to appreciate all that we do have. And sometimes we all need that reminder. You can read Karin’s story here.