I got an expansive hate comment on my blog long ago. I was accused of living a charmed life full of manicures and antiquing trips. If you saw me on a real day in my life this past week/month, you’d be equally amused as I am at that thought.
While I concede that I am still living a first world life with running water and a roof that doesn’t leak, everyone has some rotten days and bad luck they must live through. Right? Or do they?
I got to wondering if there are some people who live in Grace Bubbles. When they have an appliance go up on Christmas Eve, they know just the right person to call to have it taken care of and have a set aside fund for appliance emergencies. Or they are so Zen with their faith that they know the solution will come soon and they’ll hang until it finds them? Because I want to live those people’s lives. This is what happened to me instead.
Our dryer ceased to work around Wednesday. By Friday, I had ordered another heatcoil hoping that, like the last time it broke maybe 5 years ago, we could replace it and be in the drying business again. I do a happy dance when the coil comes the following Wednesday. But after Mark puts it in and there’s still no heat, I concede that it’s a “brain” part that’s died and we’re buying a new dryer. With the bickering kids in the backseat, I head down that evening to the our local Lowes (appliances and DIY store) where I find out that they won’t have the one that we want, the one that matches the washer we just replaced and paid off, for another two weeks.
Option two was me buying one from a store in the neighboring state by phone which will be tax free but undeliverable (and thus uninstallable by anyone other than my husband) to our address. Mark will now be picking up said dryer and then de-installing both the washer and dryer (the sink blocks a straight in entry) and reinstalling the dryer and washer on Saturday midst the birthday party set up. I told him to get another man with a strong young back to help.
What does my brain do when all of this is happening? Well I panic that I won’t be able to do my job, especially when I was just about to go medieval with Fiona’s potty training and the quantity of pee soaked clothing is exponential when you take a way the pull-ups/diapers. And I can also tell that my inner control freak doesn’t like situations where I am not in control. Period. But what I also hear myself doing is flipping the “It’ll never be good” and the “It’ll always be bad” coin. These are my go-to cognitive distortions .
And then I actually caught myself catastrophizing this morning as I was saying, “I’ve nothing to look forward to soon and have no me-time planned either”. The birthday party planning isn’t apparently ending in a fun birthday party for me. This may or may not be true but I’ll enjoy it all the same. So when Fiona threw her nap for a second day in a row today, I didn’t even dwell on it because this I actually expect. Adjusting my expectations accordingly is a tricky business. I can let go of the frustration of my inability to control her.
And that brings me to my last Aha. For this whole month, I have been really working hard in all aspects of my life. I’ve worked daily at getting what I needed done in a way that removes the dread and anticipation away from any given task by placing one foot in front of the other until its done. Because if you combine dread with those cognitive distortions of “it’ll always be this way’ and you’ve got a cocktail for paralysis ready to be swilled down without another thought. But this month was about shedding the fear and doing that which I recognize needs doing. Conceding to my lack of control and doing what I can. And doing it until it’s done without thinking too much. It’s about having a little faith beyond the circumstances in what you and your life will provide you. Knowing that if you do your best you’ll always get better than not.
I pretty much called out every little response and behavior that I knew wasn’t creating good feelings within me and set my sights on recognizing the negative thoughts sooner. I also decided to post seven days in a row of posts on gratitude on Instagram. Because you can’t feel sad or mopey when you are Grateful! I worked super hard this week, gave myself credit for it, and am feeling slightly better for it.
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