The Best Laid Plans...
I have been on mid-winter break from work all week, so I have been pretty mellow and slow-paced. I read and wrote in my journal, did some major de-cluttering of the house, and spent time with family. This weekend, however, things are back to normal "busy" life as I try to get ready for the coming work week. Today is Jason's birthday, so when I made my to-do list yesterday morning there were many extra little errands to run in addition to groceries, laundry, etc.
So, yesterday would have been a routine, busy Saturday. From the first moments of the day, however, my plans were unraveling like an old sweater. In the pre-dawn hours I lazily glanced at the clock on my way back to the bathroom, I expecting to see it read 4:30 AM or so. I planned to get up around 5:30, and meet Erin for a run at a nearby park at 6:30.
When I saw that the clock read 6:11 AM, I freaked out. "Oh my God! It's six-eleven! SIX-ELEVEN!!" I yelled.
Poor Jason, who was still asleep, shot straight out of bed. "What!?! Is it my birthday? Are you late for work? What?" he asked, sleepy and confused.
As part of our February resolutions, Jason and I have been trying to have the first words we say to one another each morning be positive ones such as, "Good morning, I love you!"
I apologized for this rude awakening, scrambled to get dressed, and even managed to pour myself a cup of coffee before making it to the running rendezvous site only 5 minutes late. The run was wonderful: 3 miles on a redwood lined course.
I was still discombobulated from my rocky start to the morning, but the day went pretty much routine until early afternoon. I dropped off some CD's (part of my enthusiastic decluttering this week) at Logos, hung out with my parents for a while, and did a few chores. At about 2:30 I headed back downtown to pick up any cash and leftover CD's. I was planning to use any cash I earned to shop downtown for a few fun things for Jason's birthday.
Alas, my plans changed unexpectedly once again. Headed westbound on Eaton toward the Harbor I was in stop and go traffic. I glanced in my rear-view mirror just in time to see a young man in a giant Chevy truck rolling slowly toward me. He glanced down at something in the car dashboard. I thought, "he's not going to stop."
At the same time, his enormous bumper crashed through my rear windshield in what seemed like slow motion, sending glass shooting through my car and spilling over the undamaged, rusty black hood of his truck. I was in shock and felt adrenaline making my whole body shake. Did that really just happen? I think that when you are in a car accident, even a fender-bender, you go into a state of shock.
Luckily I wasn't hurt. I pulled over to the side of the road and so did the young driver. He turned out to be barely 18 but respectful, remorseful, and most importantly, insured. Even though he was at fault, I put the poor kid at ease by telling him my own story of rear-ending a car coming off the 101. It was a good story to let him know that we all make mistakes and at least in this one nobody got hurt.
My Toyota RAV, however, suffered major damage that will require new a new rear window, door, and bumper. My insurance company towed the vehicle and will be storing it until the body shop opens on Monday. At least I know my poor car is protected from the elements and vandalism, since its rear is sadly exposed.
I kept it together pretty well, and only burst into tears when my cell went dead after an hour on the phone with Geico. Just as I was about to give the tow driver my address I lost power. Geico was very helpful, however, and when I called back in exhausted frustrated tears they were able to reconnect me with the tow department quickly.
Nothing had gone with my original plan for the day. But the emergency was handled smoothly. Yesterday was an extreme lesson, reminding me that happiness is not about control. It is about how we respond to those things that are beyond our control, both small and large. I could have cancelled my weekly run because I woke up late. I could have allowed the major inconvenience of being rear-ended ruin my day and the day of several other people including the driver who hit me, his father who arrived at the scene, my husband, my parents, and all of the insurance agents who helped me on the phone. Instead, I tried to remain calm, stay positive, use humor, and remind myself that this is not a big deal, no one was hurt, and we are both insured. In short, I tried to follow Gretchen Rubin's advice and under-react to the problem.
Last night, as Jason and I left the market with stuff for dinner, I was taken aback by the beauty of the sunset. as we paused a moment to enjoy the glorious show of color, I reflected on just how much my attitude has changed. Years ago, I would have carried a dark cloud over my head, and would have been too concerned with getting home and getting a spoon into a carton of Ben and Jerry's to notice what was going on in the sky above me. Yesterday, despite all of the trials of the day, I was able to have peace of mind and even find joy in the simple pleasure of a sunset.
I did go home and eat half a box of gluten-free, vegan chocolate chip cookies, however. I mean, I'm only human, right?