Thursday, August 25, 2011

Don't Tea-se Me (Bro)!

This morning, I was getting ready to head to IKEA to meet some friends for some shopping (they are actually in town from Iowa, which doesn't have an IKEA, so they wanted to browse around there).  I was dressed and ready to go, purse over my shoulder, breakfast bar in hand, when it happened:  the great hot tea incident of 2011.  This was almost as monumental as the earthquake on the east coast that tipped over some lawn furniture a couple days ago, folks.  I grabbed my travel mug of decaf cinnamon tea, but the lid wasn't on tightly enough, and in one fell swoop my breakfast, my skirt, and my kitchen floor were covered in scalding hot tea.  I jumped back, cursing and banging into things.  I quickly regained my composure and got out of my skirt so the hot tea wouldn't sear my skin any more.  Next, I got out a handful of kitchen towels and started soaking up the mess.  I started another pot of water, realizing I'd have time for it to come to a near-boil while I picked out a new outfit, started my skirt soaking in cold water, and started a load of laundry so that every dish towel I own wouldn't be dirty at once (never a good thing).

I realized that this is the type of thing that starts happening when I get stressed, when I have too much on my mind and plate at any given time.  I've got a lot of things I want to cram into this week -- transcribing interviews I've done for my book, writing a legal brief (I still do some freelance legal writing), getting licensed to practice law in Texas (so I can freelance write legal things here too), finding someone to sub-lease my apartment, going through things (again!) to try to reduce stuff to be moved to either the house in San Antonio or the condo in Austin, etc.  So naturally, that's when this sort of thing would happen to me.  It's par for the course, really; I can't count how many times in law school this kind of thing popped up.  I'd lock my keys in the car, back into something, fall in the mud while I was rushing to get to class on time, etc.  I haven't always handled these things so well -- I used to have meltdowns over these little things, these "last straws."  I'm proud that I was able to take it in stride today.  Is it because I'm older?  More mellow?  Is it because of the perspective I have on life? I've been through much worse, obviously, and I'm stronger for it.  I'm absolutely certain there will be worse things to come at some point in my life. 

Today's Great Hot Tea Incident threw off my morning, my clothes, and my ability to be prompt, yes -- but is it really that big of a deal?  No.  I still got to IKEA to meet my friends (though in shorts and 20 minutes late), new travel mug of tea in hand.

The next time a sitcom-worthy "disaster" throws a loop in your day, how will you react?  Will you give a minor inconvenience more energy than it's worth by stressing out and letting it ruin your day?  Or will you laugh it off and go with the flow?

Remember:  life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it.

1 comment:

  1. I admit, I occasionally still melt down over the small mishaps in life too if I am already upset. :) But I do better than I used to for sure! For a while after my mom died, I felt like such a helpless victim, like I was being toyed with to see just how much pain I could stand, like someone was just out to remove the best things of my life from me. (There were a lot of other hard things happening all at once in my life at the time, though that was by far the worst.) So when I'd stub my toe, spill something, or things in general went wrong, it was like, "Can't I just get a break?! I had to lose my mom AND this just happened?" It took me a while, but I learned that I am not a victim, that it just happened and that it isn't fair or right the way it happened but that it just...did. This might sound really new age-y, but I have come to believe that we chart out what our lives are going to entail and who we're going to spend them with before we ever get here, and I think that in spite of the unfairness, I knew it was going to happen for reasons I can't remember on this side. If that makes sense. When I stopped feeling like things were happening "to" me and realized I could be in control of my reactions to things like you say, it changed everything. And also, like you said, after experiencing an earth-shaking (ha, couldn't resist the pun) loss, sometimes those dumb little irritations in life just pale in comparison. "You think THAT upsets me? Don't you know what I've already survived?!!"

    Having said all that, I did wake up in the middle of the night last night to pee for the 100th time and had a suddenly sore throat and stubbed my toe really hard on the way back to bed as I lumbered my big pregnant body in the dark...and I shed a couple of tears and felt a tad sorry for myself til my toe stopped hurting. lol