Yesterday I had two options. I could enjoy the fact that my cat was curled up happily on my lap purring. Or, the fun choice, I could ponder my car repair bill, my medical bill, and my dental bill. All three are coming due in the next forty-five days and each one averages between costing more than my rent but a few dollars short of two paychecks worth of income.
Hey, could I have fun budget troubles like this all the time? Whee.
The new year has decided to bring a few more challenges with it. I think we should bullet point these matters so that we can try to get past them quickly. (Plus, if I fix one of them, I can say I dodged a bullet.)
-Every time I link to the free Wi-Fi at work, the main page brings up how well the stock market is (or in recent days, is not) doing.
-My coworker has been having a series of marital problems, resulting in her crashing elsewhere a few nights last week.
-An in-law suffered the loss of a parent.
-Last week I read a book about how the churches are failing their members, how they have wronged people, and how they need to do better.
-This week I am reading a book about racism, jails, and how incarceration is being used to make the country worse.
-I asked the gal I had been flirting with for a while to lunch. She informed me that she always ate at her desk.
-A man came in to work on Saturday and stole from us. I was the only witness.
-A coworker was having a miserable day. It was bad enough that they did not want to discuss it. They essentially did not speak more than a few grunts or necessary phrases for seven hours.
Now, for the most part, none of these are life or death matters. (Except, you know, that death one.) Yet the accumulation is enough to make me want to go back to that world of purring cats and warm beds. It is cold and wet in the real world. Why give up my cozy existence?
One response I have used is listening to “I Am” by Ginny Owens. Reader’s Digest version: God takes care of things. “‘It’s not your problem,’ God replied” and “You don’t have to change the world just trust in me.” A nice, simple reminder if one begins to get a hero complex about the state of the world.
Instead, and being a child of nerds and a bit anal (I do not have a stick up my butt. It is a slide-rule), I chose to deal with each matter in the following fashion.
Current Plans of Attack:
-Realize that I am not in charge of the world’s global economy. Trust that God, and those God has placed in power, are capable of taking care of the big picture. Choose not to sweat the brief hiccups in a complicated market.
-Within five minutes of each other, I and another coworker independently offered up a place for troubled coworker to crash. However in the last few days, things have gotten better in the marriage. A variable or two has been changed, and things are less dire. Regardless, I, as a not-therapist, should not try to fix another’s marriage. Be the friend, not the hero.
-Condolences were sent to my sibling. Their spouse and I are not that close, so I left them to mourn. Prayer was sent to sister and to the deceased’s family. I could not have picked their loved one out of a line-up. I imagine we have met once or twice, but I do not even remember their name. I will save the lamenting and mourning for when someone I have a connection to dies. In the meantime, I will take care of sibling and call that, “enough”.
-Book is read. Done. I attended one session of book club. There I discovered that they were essentially going to re-read the entire thing. Having not gotten as much from the book as others, I politely informed the leader that I would be bowing out. If I had been more damaged by organized religion, I would have derived more meaning from the text. I know enough to know that there are other, more interesting topics (read: fun, non-depressing) that I could spend my time with. The book is not my concern anymore.
-Finish the book. Attend the book club. Keep in mind what I am learning. Vote my beliefs. (No, I do not think we need to sentence people to life in jail for cocaine possession.) Do what I feel I have been led to do and treat people as people. Hug those who will let you and let those who are dissimilar thrive in their differences.
-Okay, the gal declined. That is her explicit right as an individual. That has happened before. Be respectful to her and go about your life. If she wishes to change her mind, she can be the one to speak up.
-Description was given to the security folks. (Repeatedly. Come on guys, write it down.) A grand total of roughly forty-five dollars was absconded. In the big picture, the company will survive. However, should the person return, corrective action shall be attempted. I do not like people taking advantage, but I do not need to turn into Phoenix Jones.
-I asked the coworker if he wanted to talk about what was bothering him. He did not. That ends it on my part. If a person I work with does not want to share elements of their personal life, then it is none of my business and I back the sam hill off. I try to keep from pressing the issue and leave them to figure it out for themselves. (I too have my grumpy, cranky days.)
I can try to worry about each and every speedbump in my travels, or I can simply take life as it comes. The bus is a fair example of that.
Saturday morning, the bus was probably fifteen minutes later than its designated arrival time. The two other people at the bus stop like to comment on the timing of the bus, and that day was no exception.
“He’s late.” “The bus is late.” “It should be here by now. It’s late.”
No useful comments were offered. They merely repeated the same complaint over and over in different terms. When the bus did arrive, they made it a point to individually tell the driver that he was late.
None of this made the bus any more punctual. Their actions did not improve the situation. They dwelled on it and grumbled.
What could they have done? Accept the matter for what it was. If they felt wronged, they might have contacted the customer relations department. Then, if a habit seems to form with this particular employee, the bosses can handle it internally and produce results on their end. If the two are strongly driven (heh) to get justice, they can form a civilian committee and act as a watchdog group for each and every bus that services their area. (I would opt not to join, thanks.) Or, as is their right, they could drive in a carpool.
I too was inconvenienced. I had to hustle a little to get to work. I still got to work. My boss was not mad at me. Events did not send our fair state breaking off the continent and plummeting into the ocean, no matter what my co-commuters felt. Public transportation is going to have a glitch or two. Accept that. Venting is one thing. Ceaseless complaining is another. I adopt a Mark Twain sensibility (see #4) about the issue.
“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
I can worry about everything that comes along and let it slowly bury me. Or I can pick and choose, sifting through it all and only taking with me what is mine to deal with. Maybe George Clooney had it right, at least in part.
My bills will eventually get paid. I choose to think that January will be the most expensive month. I can use some savings to fend it off, and then I will have a few months to recoup my costs. The issue might become more complicated, sure. If so, I will deal with it then.
If you let the world consume you, it will. But the world is bigger than just us. Thinking we can solve everything is pure ego. Believing each crisis is ours to fret over is foolhardy. You do not eat the entire restaurant, only that which is on your plate. Clean off your plate and move on.
As for me, a sole matter concerns me right now. I wonder how much longer I can use this snoozing furball to keep my legs warm.