Years ago someone gave me the book “Don`t Sweat the Small Stuff“ (with the cutesy subtitle: “and it`s all small stuff“). I can`t say that I was overly impressed at what I considered to be the implication that I get worked up over little things…because that simply isn`t true. (*cough*)
Of course it`s true. It`s probably true for everyone, whether they want to admit it or not, and quite frankly it`s probably not such a bad thing.
Recently my daughter called me from Boston where she is doing her almost final semester/ internship.
Right away I could tell three things:
1 – She was in her car
2 – She was on the verge of losing it
3 – This was not going to be a quick call
I won`t get into all the details, but suffice it to say that she proceeded to have a minor meltdown about the lack of available parking and the price of parking being charged at a lot near the place she wanted to go. (“Why mom?! Why would someone charge that much for parking“, she wailed).
Yes, she called me parked on the side of the road, from over 700 km away, losing her shit over the fact that she had not been able to find free parking and refused to pay the ridiculous rate of $15.00 (which for the record, I know is not that unreasonable).
It would be easy to assume a few things about my daughter based on this situation. That she is privileged, spoiled, high maintenance, incapable of dealing with normal every day things. That although she is almost 21-years old, she clearly cannot function without parental guidance. In fact, she thought the same thing and asked me if I thought she might be crazy.
I mean, it was such a small thing to lose it over.
And yet, this young woman has lived away from home for the past three years, in another country, and is studying to be a midwife. She has attended over 30 births and has been the solo attendant (yes, meaning she was the only one there) at three home births. She has stayed up for over 24 hours during long labours, regularly travels over two hours to attend births/appointments. And yet, she has never lost it in any of these instances – she is calm, composed and mature beyond her years.
How is that possible?
I have sat through termination meetings, difficult conversations, exhausting work sessions, frustrating strategy meetings, hopeless conversations… and can keep it together. Even smile once in awhile.
And the next morning, I can be reduced to tears because I have nothing to wear that goes together (incredible since my wardrobe palate is a range of grey and black items). I can absolutely lose it because “someone“ ate the last banana. I am paralyzed by the idea of picking a restaurant idea because how can I possibly know what “I feel like“. And god help the printer if it decides to be out of cyan toner when I need to print something.
I know I that I am not alone in this. I have seen people lose it over the smallest thing, but completely rise to the occasion when the walls are falling down.
I believe that it`s easier to let go when there is less at stake and we give ourselves the luxury of having a meltdown over the small things because we cannot do so during the big things.
So when my daughter asked me about her sanity, I told her…well I don`t think you are, but if you are…then so am I. Either way you aren`t alone.