This past weekend was a doozy. On Friday at 1pm I went to get a simple oil change. Four hours later, the associate came out bearing news that my car needed $2,000 worth of replacements to be considered safe to drive. I didn’t have time to fix it, so before I left I had to sign something saying if my car broke down on the way home, it wasn’t their fault. I wound up missing my friend’s dance recital which was at 5, so I went over to my parents house instead, where I dropped my phone in the toilet.
Saturday, rolled around even though I had been dreading it all week. I was scheduled to work 2 jobs, 13 hours total. With no car and no phone, it didn’t make the reality any easier to swallow. I was about half way through the second shift and at this point I’m just done with the past 48 hours. Now, this shift was a catering event for 250 people, so food was everywhere. When it was finally time for us staff eat, someone had set the veggie tray with a huge bowl of ranch on top of a very unstable stack of boxes. I happened to scooch my chair closer to the table, simultaneously nudging the stack of boxes and sending the veggies and bowl of ranch flying and then making a landing right on top of the event coordinator’s purse. What once was a bright cheery green bag, was now a ranch-dressing covered bag. I quickly tried to clean up the veggies that were now all over the floor, and grab the event coordinator rags to wipe off her purse. She was pissed to say the least.
If my face wasn’t red enough all ready, it could have caught fire at this point. My face is naturally already a little red, although I would prefer to say my cheeks are just a little rosy. Depending on the situation, it can quickly turn varying shades of red and can even become blotchy from embarrassment, stress, anger, happiness, laughter, and pretty much anything. There’s nothing I can do about it, but everyone seems to think there is. If I had a dollar for every time one of my coworkers mentioned how red my face was or asked if I was okay because my face was “SOO RED,” I would have left there $50 richer.
As you can imagine, I was feeling pretty shitty at this point, and then suddenly everything was shitty: the job, the people, how I’ve stuck been in food service for 8 years, the fact I didn’t have my car, how I should be graduating this semester, what am I even doing with my life??? etc. However, in the middle of it all, I was reminded of a cheesy quote I had seen on Pinterest earlier that day: “Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.”
I love a good challenge, so I thought to myself, Haley, let’s fill our mind with everything we’re grateful for so we’re not wallowing in self-pity (and yes, I use first person plural pronouns when I talk to myself). I was thankful my mom let me borrow her car so that I didn’t have to pay for an Uber, that the weather was beautiful, that the ice machine door didn’t fall on my head, that my car made it home from the shop safely, that I might be going to Colorado for the summer, that I even have the opportunity to work multiple jobs, that I got off 30 min early from work, etc. Before I knew it, my day wasn’t really that bad.
Now, this is not always easy, and certainly doesn’t come natural for me, but if you’re up for the challenge, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try. Not only does this help put things into perspective, but also switches your mindset from negative thinking to positive thinking. Of course, other things went wrong that weekend and my natural instinct was to complain and worry, often aloud. In one such conservation with my dad, he cut me off mid sentence to quote a scene from the 60s movie, The Dirty Dozen, which I will now always remember: “Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?”