When Life Goes Pear-Shaped

When Life Goes Pear-Shaped

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You were kept awake all night by a crying baby and now can’t see how you will keep awake during your early morning meeting with the VIP’s from Head Office, you spilled coffee all over your new suit as you rushed through your morning routine, you rear-ended a Mercedes-Benz in your eagerness to beat the rush hour traffic into the city which made all your appointments late for the day, you can’t find your keys although you know you left them on the hall table, ready for grabbing in the morning, your briefcase handle broke, spilling all its contents just as you’re entering the train at the tube station on the way to work, your project folder has disappeared from your computer because it chose today of all days to crash…….

Does this sound familiar? There are literally millions of mishaps and inconveniences which happen to all of us each day. How is it possible, that despite all of our efforts to be super organized and efficient, life still manages to derail us with regular certainty? What with all the myriads of new technologies (supposed to make our lives ever so much faster and better – ha!) and all the conveniences we spend all our money on, and then some, we still seem to have little control over how our days will turn out.

Are we at the mercy of some impish, mischief-making Martians, or has E.T. perhaps send some relatives back here to sort us out for his harried existence as our guest? No-one knows what causes our well laid plans to be scuppered. But one thing is for sure: we have to deal with them, and deal with them in such a way as to save our day, and also to keep our sense of humor at the same time.

Here’s a look at what I have found quite useful thus far in dealing with these imperfect outcomes:

  • Take a deep breath. Yes, this really truly works. It gives you time to assimilate what’s happened, to take stock, to keep your perspective. Often it is not so bad, and if it is, you need a second to regroup in order to make a better decision on your next steps.
  • Assess the damage: is anyone hurt, do they need medical or emergency treatment or is anyone in danger? If so, then give assistance and phone the right people. If not, then calm down, and take another deep breath.
  • Keep your cool. Blow off steam if you really cannot keep it contained, but limit yourself to a few seconds, because if your day is already blown off course because of the mishap, then you want to do damage limitation and not compound the disaster, see?
  • Fix it, if you can. If you can’t, find someone who can. Focus on the here and now, focus on the very next physical things you need to do in order to get back on track. Fix the immediate problems and challenges, and then go about your business and worry about it later, when things are more settled. Examples: do you need to change your clothes? If yes, find substitutes, and change into them with assurance and as little time wasted on decision-making as possible. Do you need more energy, arrange for more coffee, tea or have a heartier breakfast. No time? Then ask someone to buy it for you and kindly bring it at tea time. If you fell and now have blood all over your knee, find toilet paper, a handkerchief, paper towels, plasters, or whatever you have handy in order to fix the knee. Do you need to change appointment times, or do you need to let someone know you will be late? Do it first, and then determine how to get back on track with as little upheaval as possible.  Have you spilled something? Then clean it up, be calm and determined, and just: clean it up.
  • We all have the ability, somewhere in our brains, to pull a switch, which instantly gives our eyes the ability to look at situations from a different perspective, from a different point of view. Is it bad, yes. Did it kill us? Probably not. Will we survive? Mostly, yes. Will we get over it? Yes, we inevitably do. Is it the worst thing that could happen? No, rest assured that there are many worse things out there. Will they all happen to us in our lifetime? No, but they will sure give it a jolly good try. Is it funny? Mostly, it is, but maybe only tomorrow or in a few years time when we’re retelling the story at the family dinner table to our kids, or reminiscing at the local pub with friends.
  • Make a resolution and an effort to be more organized, neater, to keep things where they belong, to try to do as much the previous evening, when you get back home, in order that the mornings will have extra time built-in for possible emergencies. Try to build a better report with family and friends, so that when someone needs help, all of you will be there for each other. Teamwork often enough wins the day.

And lastly, keep your sense of humor close to you in your daily life, because many of the situations we struggle with, and find so impossibly irritating, time-wasting and downright annoying, are actually quite funny and serve to keep us humble, grounded and connected to the real people out there.

Life is for living, it is not perfect, and wasn’t meant to be so. I see life as a never-ending ebb and flow, a constant swell being borne up and down with the tides, a cycle repeating itself endlessly. It is actually calming and is the coolest thing to know: when you are down, you have the excellent assurance that things will get better, that is just the way life is, and when you’re riding the crest, you have the experience of knowing things might take a dive again soon and so you’re able to fortify yourself beforehand. Forewarned is forearmed, not so?

You WILL have good times, just as surely as you WILL have bad times.  But let this  stimulate and motivate you to greater heights, encourage and inspire you, let it kindle in you a desire to enjoy life to its fullest, let it spark in you a new excitement, let it exhilarate you, and let it imbue you with a new sense of how precious (and precarious) life really is.

Let us rediscover that which is droll, witty, amusing, whimsical, comical, hilarious, farcical and downright hysterical. Laugh more, and worry less. What say you?

‘Till we meet again, keep smiling 🙂

Ursula

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