Recovery on the Hard Days

My daily life tends to unfold in one of three ways:

  • Most days it’s busy, fairly smooth doing work I love but doing a little too much.
  • Some days it’s clear that my plans aren’t going to work and I have to be flexible.
  • A very small percentage of days – sh*t is f@cked and I just have to let go of it.

It didn’t use to be this way. Before I invested in a whole lot of healing and a healthier lifestyle, that list was the opposite of how it reads today.

I still tend to place a little too much stock in my productivity and while I’ve eased up on myself a lot, I often catch myself being resentful with bureaucracies and systems that I see as wasting my time. My ego flares up and I catch myself wanting to rant. On the tip of my tongue are the words, “Do you have any idea how many more important things I have on my plate than dealing with this form you need me to sign?”

I’m grateful for the ways in which my Higher Power reminds me – usually through the good people in my life that in the grand scheme of things… my annoyances today are over very trivial matters.

Robert Fulghum is famous for writing Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In his autobiography, he related a story that has long stuck with me. Fulghum wrote about being a young man and complaining excessively about an unsatisfying job. His coworker was an elderly man and a survivor of the Holocaust. The coworker schooled Fulghum in the difference between a PROBLEM and an INCONVENIENCE.

Paraphrasing the message, the old man intimated that not having food to eat or a place to live or having significant medical problems – those are real problems. Everything else is an inconvenience. What I’m dealing with today is just that. My ego doesn’t need to flare at someone who is just doing their job. My stress level doesn’t have to climb because bureaucracies are inefficient.

I can simply let go. I can trust that just like every other time I’ve been stressed about the demands in my life (that I create) things will work out fine. The minute I lose track of this, not only is today going to suck, there’s an excellent chance that it will snowball from here. A week from now today’s bullshit won’t matter and two weeks from now I won’t even be able to recall it happening.

Life is short. I have tons to be grateful for. Now I’m going back to work with the right attitude and a healthy perspective. We are almost always free to restart our day.