The Little Things Add Up

I arrived home from a road trip late last night. I walked through the door to find dirty dishes in the sink and an unorganized house. After very little sleep, I awoke to get ready for work. I made sure to dress nicely and wear makeup for an important meeting about a project I’ve been looking forward to. I went to my car to grab my suitcase and found a note on my windshield about being parked too close to my neighbor’s driveway (though not blocking it). I promptly pulled my car forward before I went back into the house to grab some more things for work. While this was happening, I received worrisome news over the phone.  As I got out of my car to go back inside, my neighbor came out and began to chastise my parking decision last night. When I apologized and told her I had moved up and would be leaving for work shortly, she yelled, “Whatever!” and slammed her door.

I am not one to get road rage or to react with anger at rude people, but the combination of lingering stress, the start of my period, and this early morning bitchiness made me tear up. I told myself to shake it off and practice what I preach (I am always telling people how to stay calm and content). After a minute of deep breathing, I headed to work with a smile on my face.

And then I was told that I was “not needed” at the meeting I had prepared for and looked forward to for the past month. As the rest of my coworkers left for the meeting, I again felt my face swelling with tears. I haven’t cried at work since my first job after college — a rookie mistake — and I refused to let anyone see the moisture threatening to roll down my cheeks. Luckily, I kept my cool and shook it off. Sitting alone in the office, I tried again to collect myself and assess the situation.

Why is it that such tedious, inconsequential occurrences can lead to a breakdown some days? The story of my “bad” morning could be anyone’s story. And none of it was really that bad at all. I had a car to go on a road trip with, family and friends to be with on said trip…We arrived home safely, and had a safe and comfortable home to come home to. There were dishes in the sink because we are able to have full meals whenever we are hungry. My neighbor was probably just frustrated because her driveway has been blocked partially before, and her rage had nothing to do with me personally. And I am thankful to have a job in the first place, even if I am questioning whether I want to stay there. Yet, on this day, the culmination of  stress and mishaps left me teetering on the precipice of sending my day into a much worse tailspin.

Long story short: We are all going to have bad days. We are allowed to feel badly about them. But before you break down and cry at work in front of everyone, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it is just one day and tomorrow things will be better. If you have bigger things to be stressed and upset about, know that life is made of ups and downs. Recognize your feelings and allow them to be felt, but be aware that before long things will look up again. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.” – Thich Naht Hahn

- Summer