Have you ever had “just one of those days?” You know the kind I’m talking about, don’t you? You wake up late because you set your alarm for PM rather than AM. You spill coffee all over the front of your shirt as you head out the door. You have just enough gas in your car to make it to the end of the block instead of to the meeting you’re already late for that’s half way across the city. Yeah, neither have I!
Isn’t it funny that when we hear the phrase “just one of those days” we automatically recall chaos rather than a fun filled day?
I think I’m going to start a petition to have us all stop using that phrase and replace it with a simple, “it’s a good day.” Why, you may ask?
The older I get, the more I realize that my thoughts and assumptions completely shape how I view the world, and my day reflects that view. If I go someplace where I had a bad experience in the past, I usually have another one if I venture there again. If I decided when I was a kid that I hated broccoli but never ate it after that first experience, the smell of it cooking will make me nauseous. When someone has treated me unkindly and hurt my feelings, I assume that every interaction with that person will reveal the same results.
If I look at the many hiccups throughout my day as negative, that’s exactly what they’ll be and it’s exactly how I’ll feel by the end of the day. I’ll be tired and cranky and negative. So if that’s true, what would happen if I changed my thoughts to being more positive?
How many opportunities for joy have I wasted by not setting aside my assumptions and just being “in the moment?” How many friendships have I missed out on by not taking the time to go beyond my preconceived ideas of who this person is and just celebrate who they actually are?
I decided to try an experiment. Every time something happened during my day that I would normally get frustrated about or think of as a negative, I tried to see something good. Sometimes, it worked pretty well and I patted myself on the back for being so brilliant. But there were more than a few times I had to really reach to pull out the good. The positive results were great and the exercise in stretching to find something good ended up making me laugh. So I suppose my experiment worked!
Here’s what my day looked like…
I went to bed later than usual, so I knew I needed to set my alarm to make sure I’d wake up on time. I didn’t realize that the volume of my ringer was on the loudest setting. When the alarm went off, I woke up, the dogs woke up and I’m pretty sure my neighbors woke up too! But when you wake up to a really loud alarm it will either give you palpitations and a minor heart attack or you’ll wake up so completely that you can use that nervous energy to get ready much faster than normal, hence having more time for a Starbuck’s run! I chose Starbucks!
Next, the off-ramp I usually take from the freeway to work was closed. My normal route was now not available to me and time was ticking away. I prayed the next ramp would be open for me, but it was closed too. Now the panic and frustration started setting in. Then I realized I could call in to the meeting from my car and just keep traveling until I found a way to get off the freeway and get to my office. I asked Siri to help make the call and was able to relax. I found a new way to work that included a lovely drive through residential streets complete with trees and flowers, my favorite things! Challenge #2 for the win…successfully enjoying the scenery while participating in my meeting with a much better attitude!
Lunch time found me standing in line at the commissary trying to find something to eat. I don’t eat meat, but apparently the only items available for the chefs to cook with that day contained meat! Even the vegetables where surrounded by floating chunks of bacon! So I trudged over to the salad bar (where none of the cool kids eat BTW), and put together a boring salad. Hmmm, how can I turn this one around? Well, by not eating meat I didn’t get sick and by eating only salad I’m pretty sure I lost a few pounds. Ok, that one’s a stretch, but I’ll still call it a win!
Now it was time to head home from work and what do you suppose I found when I got to my parked car? I had been so focused getting to work that I didn’t notice the slow leak in my rear passenger tire. Now that same tire was completely flat, taunting me as if to say, “Ha! Let’s see you turn this into something positive!” Sighing, I called Auto Club to come to my rescue. As I waited, I discovered I had time to go through my calendar for tomorrow so I’d be prepared and ahead of the game. By the time the tire was fixed and I was on my way home, I realized I had missed almost every bit of traffic! Ha! Take that, flat tire! Win!
With my day coming to an end, I wandered through my garden, deeply inhaling the scents of flowers and soil and marveled at the fact that I was in a great mood! Despite the many opportunities to call today “just one of those days,” I had changed my thoughts and realized it had been a good day! But I knew I couldn’t take the credit for it; God gave me the idea for my experiment so He deserves the win!
Back to my petition, maybe I’ll start by making t-shirts that have the phrase “just one of those days” crossed out and the words, “It’s A Good Day!” printed on it. That ought to get people talking and might plant the seed in someone’s brain to try their own experiment!
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
– Philippians 4:8