I walked into my room the other evening only to trip a bit over the corner. Now don’t worry, I didn’t get hurt. My left leather slipper, on the other hand, did not escape unscathed – and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.
Of course it doesn’t really matter that I hurt the integrity of my slippers; it’s not like it’s my fancy pair of “going out” shoes. But I do take pride in things looking nice, and these are the best and nicest slippers I’ve ever had. Regardless, my gut reaction was to feel a little bit pissy.
I looked down and for a second felt mad about the deep scar that will characterize my slipper throughout the course of its life. For a second, I felt the tense jaw and shoulders that come with that inner sensation of ugh shiiiiiiit. And before it hit me, before I let myself fully feel the frustration, I let it go.
A lot of things have gone wrong these last few weeks. I’ve been eaten alive by some mysterious confirmed-not-bed-bug bugs in my room. My phone and cash were stolen. I have cut open my lip and my arm. I sent in a cover letter dated “March 4, 2014” that wasn’t meant for an internship with Dr. Who or Phil of the Future. Yesterday, I spent 30 minutes unsuccessfully trying to return a giant, heavy package that barely fit in Jonny’s SmartCar only to turn around, take it back home and opt for paid pick-up. Worst of all, I found out that I’m not getting credit for a class I took abroad.
Life is frustrating sometimes. If I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that the reason life is so frustrating is because things aren’t always in our control. As much as we like to feel like we have control over our lives, there are obviously a lot of times when we don’t – and that’s when we get frustrated.
What we CAN control, however, is how we react to things when they don’t our way. I can c’est la vie to the new badass scar on my slippers and feel a little more manly wearing my man-UGGs (look, they are REALLY comfortable). I can sleep on the couch until the exterminator comes. I can buy (grudgingly) a new phone (and not-grudgingly take advantage of my upgrade!). I can pay the extra $6 to not spend an hour in the post office and to avoid getting a parking ticket (don’t ask me why the post office doesn’t have free parking). Most importantly, I can turn all of these annoying events into hilarious stories or at least learn that you can’t trust your valuables to the kids in the family locker room at the YMCA.
Maybe I’m rehashing something we are all supposed to know. You know, “accept the things you cannot change…” and all that. Well it’s true, and I’m really trying to take it to heart. It’s pretty easy when it comes to stupid things like slippers, although maybe a bit more difficult when it involves buying a $300 new phone. It takes practice and patience, but at the end of the day it’s the only way to take back control. The only way to take back control, in some weird and twisted way, is to let go of it.
Hopefully, when summer internships start getting back to me, my summer starts getting planned and even when I start applying for graduate schools, after I’ve done all that I can do, I can sit back, throw back a beer, let go and take control. It’s the only thing I can do.