You know what? I’m going to share a picture of myself that I will probably regret at some point. Or, as Gavin says, “it’s something I can show my grandkids when I tell them about how we survived during the COVID times.” Why on earth would I share this? I can’t think of a better representation of my day.
Yes, this was early this morning. I figured I should capture this moment of magnificence for Becky to swoon over. Tomorrow night I get my first haircut of the 2nd quarter of 2020. I’m pretty sure she’s going to tackle me as I leave for the haircut. She’ll beg and plead for me to keep my hair growing. A modern day anti-Delilah. Becky, allow me to apologize in advance for the extreme heartache you’re about to feel tomorrow.
So yeah, where was I? That’s right… how in the world am I finding a way to be thankful for a day encapsulated in the incredibly charming and professional picture above? Because sometimes these types of days just happen. Not every day is perfect. Most days don’t go exactly as planned.
From the moment Dominic and I locked ourselves out of my office to the calls I wasn’t expecting to take to the project I was working on that took way longer than expected to the seemingly unending interruptions the day just never quite got into gear. Everything just seemed to grind.
I keep thinking about when Becky and I took a detour through an almost unexplored part of Death Valley (aptly named) in a rental car right before I realized I’d been stricken with food poisoning from a greasy cheap breakfast and before I ‘d realized that I hadn’t told anyone where we were going for the day so no one would find our bodies except the insane eyed, way to happy to help dude with crazy eyes who was going in the wrong direction and I’m pretty sure was featured on a crossover episode of Cops and Unsolved Mysteries. Yup, you read that all correctly. One of the shocks got too much grit pounded in on the sand/gravel-ish road. Each minor bump we hit caused the grit to rub on the shock. After enough bumps the friction heated the shock to the point that the black plastic housing started to melt off like candle wax. How did we handle it? After the flat tire we turned around and headed back as fast as we could. This only increased the friction which increased the heat which increased the melting which increased the panic which only incited the food poisoning. What a happy vacation memory, huh? 😉
There were times today when I felt like I was driving that rental car again. The difference was that this time around I didn’t panic. I took a deep breath. I paused and took time to clean out the excess grit. I got back in and drove again until I hit another obstacle. Start, stop, pause, breathe. Funny how much less I felt the stress that way.
To be clear, was there stress? Big time. Did I allow myself to get stressed out? A little, but more often than not I was able to calm myself and quiet my brain to work through one thing at a time.
So again, you might be asking, “why is he thankful for a day when everything grinds?” Because I not only survived it, I saw tangible progress I’ve made over the past few years. Not only did I make it, but I even caught myself relishing the thought of “what next?” Today I had an awesome opportunity to exercise and grow my stoicism practice. I certainly wouldn’t give myself a perfect score, but I definitely got a solid B, maybe even a B+. Many times in the past I would have totally failed. The fact that I’m feeling sane enough to pause and reflect on the day instead of trying to bury it shows me that I’m making progress.
Today everything seemed to grind… except me. I’m thankful for a day like this to remind me to find the upside, to show myself progress, and to learn and grow from the experiences the day provided.
To go back to that crazy pic of me from this morning. Yes, this is a perfect example of the day. But if you look, I’m smiling through it all.
Huge bonus thank you to all of the people who brought an extra smile to my face today. Much of what helped today was knowing I am surrounded by so many friends, loved ones, and awesome people I haven’t the opportunity to befriend yet.