Thursday, June 10, 2010
I don't have cancer, but can my day still suck?
I am having a bad day.
My washing machine has been broken for almost two weeks now. The appliance repair guy, who I like and have used before, is not here as promised. I broke a nail. I got into a tiff with my daughter over her snarky attitude this morning. The guy in front of me was driving at about 10 miles per hours with his brake lights on every other second. The line at Dunkin Donuts was too long. The dog brought an egg into the house and ate it upstairs on the white carpet. I have to pay bills today. I will now have to take 6 loads of laundry to the laundromat.
I got a flat tire on Tuesday. I had to pay a lot of money to have it fixed. They want me to bring it back today to have the lug nuts checked. What? Like I have time for that?
Everything always leads to another thing. It is never just a simple problem. They cascade into a waterfall of new things that now must be done. It is maddening.
Am I smiling? No. Am I happy? No. Can I put in all in perspective because I see so much worse.
I am pissed. And I want to be pissed. It is my right to allow myself to feel that way. I will try not to let it bother others, but the fact remains that my day kind of sucks. Some days are just not that great, no matter how brightly the sun is shining or how beautifully the birds are chirping.
We all have bad days. Sometimes, too many. We even compare bad days with each other, as in, " Well, you think that is bad, let me tell you....."
Sometimes another persons bad day makes me happy that I have just my own. There always seems to be something so much worse.
There is a story I read once about the Sorrow Tree. On Judgement Day, everyone can place their own sorrows there, but then must walk around the tree and select someone else's miseries that he may like better. In the end, everyone always freely takes back their own personal set of sorrows once more.
Seems right to me.
And that is all fine but I am still fuming.
But the bad day stays in a little box. I do try to not let it overwhelm me or to allow it to grow bigger than it needs to be. Most of it is just an inconvenience, not a real problem.
I have two boxes I place thoughts in; one is for the inconvenient things that will pass but make my day bad, the other box is for real problems.
I fill up box one on many days. But then I empty that box, mostly by just plodding through it. Getting the stuff done. Not dwelling on it. Not allowing myself to be consumed by it. Not allowing myself to become the bad day. So I have to go to the Laundromat. I am really mad about it, but what can I do? We need clean clothes. So, I will take a book I have been meaning to read and buy a latte and plod through. I will still hate being there, but I will try to balance the good with the awful.
My problem box is almost always empty. When I say problems, I mean things that can't just be fixed. Things that are huge and life-altering.
I am grateful that that box is near empty.
And, I imagine, most of ours are, if we were honest.
Life is full of inconveniences and annoyances on a daily basis. I think it is fine to get angry about that. But then to let it go. Don't become the anger, don't let it consume you, don't miss out on seeing the good things I wrote about yesterday because you are blinded by a passing rage. Don't let it fester.
But also don't let anyone tell you how to feel, either. If one person says to me, well, that doesn't sound like such a bad day, I cannot promise I will answer in kind. I am allowed to own my feeling of being put out, of being mad, of thinking that my day sucks. Let me wallow in it a bit. I will not drown. Distance yourself from me if you must. Don't try to cheer me up. It will be gone soon. I know it will.
No, it may not be such an awful, horrible bad day. It may turn out that I will find something good today that turns it all around--like a laundress, or a call saying that the washer will be fixed this morning. Or a smile and a hug from my daughter at pick-up, the perfect anecdote for the bad day.
I guess what I am trying to say is that even those of us who see the very worst things that can happen still have bad days as well, even though we don't have cancer, or a life-threatening illness or whatever. We are just living life with its ups and downs like everyone else.
And that is okay.
“No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap.”
~Carrie P. Snow
So often time it happens, we all live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key.
~The Eagles, "Already Gone"
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious.