From Despair Central to Disney World

20 Jan

Often, I let how the day begins determine how the day unfolds and certainly how the day ends.  If it begins poorly – struggling to get up because of lack of sleep, starving but no time for breakfast, having to take the usually-delayed T or bus system because it is pouring rain and I cannot bike – then the rest of the day slides into shambles.

Not necessarily outwardly. I can often begin on a bad note and still manage to be productive at work and cheerful to coworkers and get to class on time and participate.  That is my default mode.

But inwardly, the day seems wasted.  Things didn’t go according to my plan and I can’t wait to go to bed and hit the reset button and try again tomorrow. If we believe in the laws of regression to the mean, a really bad day means it is more likely the day next will be closer to the average.  A string of really bad days would be too much of an outlier.

The opposite is true, too.  A really great beginning to a day colors my perspective positively. Maybe little annoyances or tedious problems occur but I shrug them off.  Today is a good day, I think.  And I carry on.

What I need to do is to learn how to “reset” at any point.  To broaden my perspectives, to curb my expectations, to enjoy the unpredictability of life.  And reset after every bad moment rather than let it creep into the next moment as my unwanted but self-assured-sidekick.

Kids do it best.  They reset with amazing speed.  The toddler runs down the hallway, and comes to a very dramatic crash when the slippery tiles are too much for his unsteady legs.  There may be a boo-boo or a bruise or just a very red tender spot on his knee.  But that’s enough to purchase him a direct-flight-to-Despair Central.  You’d think he’s being either punished or murdered by the cries that he emits.  And the look he gives the floor tiles. It is a very bad day.  Probably the worst day he’s ever had.

Flash forward 20 minutes. Or 10. Or 5. And he’s spinning in the office chair, going round and round.  Laughing so hard that its contagious and people stop to see.  Great big eyes shimmering with excitement.  What happens next?  A cookie after lunch? A trip to the playground? The day is full of endless possibilities of fun adventures.  And right now, in this moment, finding such unashamed delight in a spinning chair, if you heard him down the hallway, you’d think he was at Disney World.

From Despair Central to Disney World.  All in less time than it took me to type this post.  That’s the sort of day I want to strive for.  To tumble off the plane into Despair Central’s airport, gaze around, think “Eh, this is not for me” and head to a  trash bin to shred my Despair Central frequent flyer points. I won’t be cashing them in.  And then, with no time to linger and buy a t-shirt, head straight for the next flight to anywhere hopeful and expectant. Even if its just the Land of Spinning Chairs.


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