“I’ll be up early,” said my new acquaintance, “I’m usually up at around 4am.”
As a conversation stopper, that statement was right up there with “Let’s talk politics and religion.”
I searched for common ground. “That’s awfully early, even to turn on the coffee pot.”
My new acquaintance was ready with conversation stopper #2. “I don’t drink caffeine. Just water.”
Uh-huh. And your thoughts on the upcoming presidential election are…? Ever ready with clever repartee, I said, “I see.”
“I just don’t sleep much,” new acquaintance said.
Never at a loss for words, I replied, “Ah.”
Predictably, that’s where the small talk ended.
In other jolt-worthy news, my friend B is all excited. She’s found a new pre-workout drink that has time release capsules and provides a blast of energy and mental alertness. She’s thrilled with this new beverage and let me taste it. Tasted like tangerine (which was good because the label said it was tangerine flavor).
I took a good look at the container. Turns out that inside these super advance incredible time release capsules is—you guessed it—caffeine. A lot of caffeine. More caffeine than 2 large cups of coffee. There’s also a bunch of unpronounceable stuff that’s supposed to be crazy healthy for you if you work out a lot.
But mostly it’s caffeine.
I’m considering putting my new acquaintance and my friend B in a room and seeing what happens. I’ll be watching while I sip a cup (or two) of regular old coffee. And smiling.
It got me thinking that there are all sorts of situations we find ourselves in that might be somewhat less than ideal.
It might be a required class that is (fill in evil adjective here). It might be an event at which you’re required to make an appearance but you’d rather be hung upside down by your toenails than go. It might be a concert you’re excited to go to but when you get there it doesn’t live up to expectations and you’re stuck in the center of the row, unable to leave.
The list goes on. The point is at one time or another we all find ourselves wishing there was an easy way to escape our immediate situation.
Note: There rarely is. Because if there was an easy escape route you’d already have taken it.
The point of the Forbes article was (more or less) that you have a choice to wallow in the unpleasantness of the situation or to find a way to make your life better.
Important: I did not say to make the situation better. We can’t always do that. And presumably if there was a way to do that you’d already have done it.
A True Story
One thousand three hundred fifty-six years ago (exactly) I worked at a fast food franchise. I was in high school at the time and it was a typical part-time job. I remember one night in particular being assigned to wash dishes. Not my favorite job as the pots and pans were big and proportionally dirty. I was in the back, by myself, being miserable, explaining to myself how miserable I was, and generally multiplying the miserable-ness exponentially. Then things got busy and I was called to work the drive-thru window. This was back in the days before we were expected to be rude and so I made An Effort to be cheerful and pleasant. Within minutes I actually was cheerful and pleasant. Cue music for “I Whistle A Happy Tune.” Extra points if you get the reference.
We can’t make every situation better. But we can almost always work on our attitude about the situation.We can decide not to punish those around us with a (fill in evil adjective) attitude. We can challenge ourselves to find something good in the situation and lock onto that. We can figure out a way to turn the situation into a fun blog (see 12 Really Good Things About Winter Weather for an example).