All week my head spun with a mental tape of a lengthy to-do list. “Send this email, contact that person, put together the workshop, prepare marketing material for those events…” My stress levels were palpably heightened as I found I had to constantly remind myself to use the full capacity of my lungs; my breathing kept reverting back to a shallow anxiety-ridden panting that kept me in a consistent state of panic. The only time this was a non-issue was when I allowed myself to go for a run to clear my head.
My schedule this week had been so erratic that my regular gym routine, the biggest source of tension relief, was compromised (but, practicing Zumba choreography and running when the weather permitted satisfied my exercise needs). I found myself snapping at Biscuit (when all she was doing was being a dog); found myself projecting my frustrations on to the kids I took care of (when all they were doing was being teenage boys); found myself losing my patience with my mom and dad (when all they wanted to know was how my day was). My normally upbeat, positive energy reeked of negativity and was effecting my physiology and my world around me….Then, I hit a curb and my tire popped.
At first, I felt the knee-jerk “why me?!” reaction, to which I’ve always known to be wildly unproductive- So, instead I turned to laughter.
I laughed at the fitting-ness of situation.
I laughed at the irony of having bought an emergency can of Fix-a-Flat to keep in my trunk, just that morning.
I laughed as I attempted to fill the tire with said product, and watching the white sealant spew from a two inch gash that was clearly unable to be plugged with a liquid product.
I laughed at the just-in-case tire in my trunk with the rusty, beyond-bent rim that rattled my car when taken above 30 mph.
I laughed at the fact that even though I am a “gym rat” and lift heavy weights, I couldn’t, for the life of me, loosen the lug nuts from the tire.
I laughed even harder as the boy from AAA was able to spin off the lug nuts with ease, even though I was certain my arms held more muscle than his.
I laughed because if I didn’t, I would have exploded, much like the deflated tire that had collapsed itself into a rubber puddle beside my car.
Every negative experience has a potential positive lesson hidden within it. For the first time all week, I was able to be still, having a legitimate reason to be unable to make it to any appointments/meetings/to-dos. AAA had estimated a 90-minute wait period, which translated to a precious 90 minutes of welcomed quiet time, alone in my car. I made the necessary phone calls, rearranging appointments, making my schedule much more manageable for my time and my sanity. I rummaged through my purse for my iPod, finding an open package of gum and the bottle of nail polish I had thrown in there in case I had ever gotten a moment to apply it…
So, I sat alone in my car, chewing my gum, polishing my nails and listening to a recording on my iPod I had put on my to-do list to review. I kicked my feet up on the dashboard, blowing on the fresh coat of fast-dry nail varnish, thoroughly enjoying the high synchronicity of the unplanned moment. I completed some paperwork I had left unfinished and even threw out the trash that had been collecting to embarrassingly large amounts. My lengthy to-do list was quickly becoming a done-list as I scratched off the little tasks I was completing.
Car troubles and other unexpected disturbances are usually cause for distress. I chose to change the perspective of which I looked at my situation and ended up laughed all the way to the solutions to my problems. I finally got back to my house, greeted by concerned parents asking if I was alright, expressing their sympathies to a normally upsetting situation. They knew I had been particularly on edge that week and they expected this to topple me over. I took a deep breath, smiled, and said “It was exactly what I needed.”