How true it is that sometimes we need to face adversity to see just how far we’ve grown. We need to occasionally work through an unexpected challenge to see just how far we’ve come. Today was a day that had a few of those challenges. In one I noticed how calm I was and the other I didn’t notice until I started to type this blog.
On my drive home tonight there was a little surprise waiting for me once I hit I90. My car beeped at me and my tire pressure light flashed on. I was then able to watch my back right tire’s pressure slowly drop from 25 down to 5. In that moment of time I took a deep breath, did a quick calculation of how far I could go, and then smiled as I realized I should have just enough to get to a rest area very nearby. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I would be able to change it in a parking lot instead of on the interstate. When I popped the trunk to fish out the spare I caught myself smiling at realizing that in almost 160,000 miles in this car I’ve never had to actually pull out the spare out of the trunk before. The bar was a little different than I was used to, but I was so happy to see how it folded in order to make it easier when lifting the car and removing the lug nuts. I was grinning when the bolts only took a couple of sharp kicks to loosen. As I was placing the spare on the car I paused and chuckled to myself. I wasn’t quite whistling while I worked, but I wasn’t far from it either!
As I was present in the moment fixing the car tire I hadn’t noticed how seamlessly I’d cycled through any emotion and transitioned right into, “it’s happened, there’s nothing I can do to fix it, might as well enjoy it” mode. Instead of getting angry or frustrated I just rolled with it and looked to the bright side. I am so thankful for the emotional energy I didn’t waste and for finding a way to let the challenge bring a little extra joy to my day. Crazy, isn’t it?
When I started typing this I realized I was missing something. Today is Dominic’s birthday and I realized that I am super thankful for him and should be blogging about that. When I thought of how I’d write the blog I thought to all of the time we’d spent together in person today… hmm…. There hasn’t been any! Dominic was still asleep when I headed into work today. By the time I got home he’d already been long since gone to soccer practice and was then off to band until 10-10:30ish. With an early start to the work day today I’ll be in bed before he even gets home. All day will pass and I won’t have seen him (although I’m thinking I may have to wake up and give him a hug when he gets home). We talked on the phone earlier today. We texted each other. When I first realized this I was amazed at how I wasn’t feeling crushed or disappointed that I won’t be spending time with him. My mind had actually gone in a different direction though. The day is what it is, planned the way it is. The nice thing is that we spend a ton of time together and interact on a very regular basis. Sure, it’s a special day, but how many of my birthdays have been spent without my parents present? When it was possible they were around, when they weren’t we always talk on the phone. I love my parents to death and it’s not based on whether or not they are present on a specific day, it’s based on how present they’ve been in the entirety of my life. While it would have been great to spend more time with Dominic on his birthday I’m just as thankful for being able to spend time with him on a random Tuesday afternoon. I’m so thankful that my brain processed all of that on its own without me having to think through it all. It wasn’t until I was about to write tonight that I even realized that I’d processed it that way.
Maybe this whole reading and studying about stoicism is causing it to finally sink in more completely. I’ve got a very long ways to go, but I’m grateful for today’s reminders of seeing it in action.