You know that feeling you get when you spend all day craving the leftovers you have at home in the fridge? You think about them, mouth watering, anticipation growing as the hours wear on, and you can’t wait to get home and savor every delicious bite. You skid into the driveway and eagerly run to the fridge, fork in hand. You fling open the door and there sitting on the top shelf is…NOTHING!
You check the other shelves and the drawers in a panic, but the leftovers are nowhere to be found. You turn around and see an empty container in the sink, the microwave door stands open, and as you finish your scan of the room, there at the kitchen table is your roommate, fork in mid air, the last crumb of your leftovers hanging off the corner of her lip and a decidedly guilty look on her face.
You can feel your blood pressure rising and you want to yell at her so loudly that her hair blows back, but you are wearing the shoes she loaned you this morning and the sweater you never gave back to her last week, so you stomp off to your room and spend the rest of the night in an angry funk. You can’t even enjoy the new episode of The Big Bang Theory you were waiting to watch.
I had this feeling twice this past weekend while I was in Mobile, Alabama attending the Southeastern Sectionals tennis tournament. The tournament was providing a free lunch and I usually go in to these situations knowing they probably won’t have a vegetarian option. Imagine my joy when the menu included a veggie sub! But my match had run long and they were already out of the veggie subs. I was so disappointed. “And the vegetarian gets shafted again,” I thought to myself while wondering how many non-vegetarians had requested a veggie sub before I got there. I ended up with a bag of chips and a cookie. Not exactly the fuel needed to get me through my afternoon match. I was super annoyed.
Then the next day, we went to a restaurant for lunch instead of taking the chance that the veggie subs would be gone again. I was excited to see that this restaurant, renowned for their chicken salad, had a pimento cheese sandwich on the menu. But when I got up to the counter the girl told me they were out of pimento cheese. I was so angry. “Shafted again!” I thought.
The anger must have been written all over my face because my friend came over to the table with her order and immediately said, “What happened?!?!” When I told her they were out of pimento cheese she just stared at me and said, “Is that all? I thought something REALLY bad had happened!”
And of course, she was totally right and it was a nice wake up call to my “first world” problem! Was it really the end of the world that I didn’t get a pimento cheese sandwich!??! Here I was, enjoying a weekend away, healthy enough to play tennis, and spending time with great friends and I was ruining my afternoon over a sandwich!
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
I have never read the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, but after this weekend I probably ought to pick up a copy and take every word to heart. I have never been great at letting go of the little annoyances in life and often let them ruin a good portion of my day. I know it’s much easier said than done, but I hope to improve on that in the future. Just being mindful of it is a big first step in the right direction.
My go-to plan for now is to stop, make a cup of tea, and write down all the things I’m grateful for. As Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory often says, “When people are upset the cultural convention is to bring them hot beverages.” I think he’s on to something!
Any helpful suggestions on how you cope with the little aggravations in your day? I would love to hear your tips in the comments below.