Twice this week I was jolted out of my meditation in the seventieth minute by a puppy bounding through my office door and biting my nose.
If you’ve never been seventy minutes into a meditation and had a puppy bound in through your carefully closed office door, and bite you on the nose, imagine this:
You’re on a deserted island. You’re lying in on a chaise lounge by the ocean. The sun is kissing your skin. There is the slightest but most perfect breeze dancing on your brow, cooling the perspiration at your hairline. Suddenly, the sky opens up and dumps ice water on you.
School can’t start soon enough.
This is the puppy I got to put an end to the screen time conversation with my nine-year-old because of course he’d be all consumed by playing with the puppy, walking the puppy, and training the puppy, right? He’d be so occupied and over the moon, that he’d never interrupt me again to discuss the Lego set he simply must have, or how I’m five weeks behind on allowance and owe him the equivalent to the mortgage on my house.
Spoiler alert: it’s not working out as I envisioned.
Every day I am thrust into a game of overcoming the human condition; all the extremely valid reasons I have to lose my mind, be annoyed, and blame everything and everyone around me for things not working out the way I want them to.
Ideas whisper in my ear and I excitedly open a new word document, furiously getting it on the page when my older son pokes his head in, “Can I take your car?”
“Wait, what? Where?”
“To play spike ball.”
“Uh…okay, yes, I’m not going anywhere. That’s fine.”
After a lengthy discussion of where to find my keys (the ones he laid somewhere the night before) I turn back to the page only to find my idea packed its bags and left in a huff.
And even as I write, my husband just this very minute poked his head in telling me he’s using the bedroom this morning rather than the office for his conference call, so if I need anything in there I have to leave you right now and go get whatever it is. How do I know what I’m going to need out of my bedroom forty-five minutes from now? What if that is the moment, I decide I’m ready to get out of my pajamas?
On my way to making lunch, I will undoubtedly trip on the battle ground that used to be my living room. Bouncing around, holding my toe with the Lego imprinted on it, I will assure no one there, “I’m good, I’m good!”
This is my COVID life, but let’s be truthful, this is just life. Our clients, our kids, our spouses, our co-workers, while we love them, in any given moment, can be very annoying.
And that’s only the people in our lives, what about all the things that happen on a daily or weekly basis? We lose a deal, we lose our car keys, we lose our tempers (which sometimes leads to losing a little self-respect), we lose our freedom to walk freely about the planet.
We have to decide. Who and what do we allow to steal our serenity?
To me, regardless of when I have an epic fail maintaining my mood, my primary concern in life is to be the best version of myself I can be. From what I understand, it’s a lot like baseball; if I get a hit 30% of the time, I’m doing good (although the averages get a lot better with diligence and practice).
Humans in general are naturally prone toward the half empty glass. In fact, research shows that 70% of our thoughts arenegative!
So, it’s a game. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose, but I’m always playing. I’m always looking for where I swung and missed, and how I may hit the sweet spot next time. And, luckily for me (not), when I forget or decide to hold on to my victimhood, my seventeen-year-old has no trouble holding me accountable.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not begrudging any of us all the valid reasons we have to be irritated, angry or have an anxiety attack on any given day. These are part of life. I’m merely suggesting we pay a little closer attention to who’s responsible for getting us out (you’ve missed the boat if your finger is pointing anywhere other than at yourself right now), and how long we stay there.
Win, lose or draw, just get in the game.