There have been plenty of times in my life where I have been ambushed by serious challenges ranging from car collisions, illness in the family and unexpected major expenses.

Maybe that's why when little setbacks recently have just piled up, instead of feeling incredibly stressed and anxious, I just mentally filed them away into a list of priorities and continued on.

You can't do that with everything, of course. Just to give you a taste, in the same week I suddenly knocked my glasses off a counter and broke the frames. My computer hard drive crashed. My cell phone started giving clear signs that it is dying. I got a flat tire. The seams in my shoes started splitting left and right.

It was almost like the lyrics of Alanis Morissette's song, "Ironic."

You can probably see why these things are a little annoying, but not worth that much stress. But that isn't always our response to hardship when it piles on like this, even if it isn't that huge.

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I think the fact that I had been wrapping up a couple huge expenses really helped me keep them in perspective. We finished a several thousand dollar roofing project on my house; my generous boss at job No. 2 donated lumber from her own deck so I could save tons on building railings for my two decks; and I'm toward the end of payments for a very expensive surgery for my dog.

By comparison, these are small.

My eyes are still good enough for me to function perfectly well without glasses. My computer hard drive was only $50 and some free time to replace, my cell phone will survive long enough that I don't need to act immediately, my shoes are apparently well made because in spite of all their issues, they still hold their shape.

The only thing I needed to do immediately was to replace my tire.

When you can space these things out and tackle them strategically, it's a lot easier to take them in stride. As a matter of fact, these little blips are a reminder of my blessings.

I have insurance that will likely cover the glasses (I am cautious of surprise expenses though). A cell phone upgrade will not increase my bill by much and the new phone will have greater capabilities. My computer will probably run better than it has in years now that the hard drive is replaced.

New shoes (with new insoles) will likely improve my quality of life while working on my feet. My new tire is one less tire I need to replace in the fall before the snow flies (though it might become my spare if I can find an extra hub).

There are other things too, but they are all sort of like this - things I can organize in my mind and take time to think through and tackle in a smart way. Tackling them all together might make them seem too much and leave my budget with very little wiggle room after my big roof project; but I can take them one manageable piece at a time and suddenly it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.

That's not always the case, as we all know.

So I guess here's to the manageable challenges in all our lives. May they help us keep a clear perspective.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.