It starkly reminds me of the lack of manual labor I do in my life. Now, over 40, I usually sit in a car or behind a desk and push papers during my workday. I complain about my anticipated carpel tunnel syndrome and my very real paper cuts. I'm angered at a lack of follow through by employees on my "action required" items as well as the number of "action required" items sent to me by the boss. I raise my fist in white knuckle frustration at the length of a conference call and balk about how things should be done differently!
Elsewhere, a good friend struggles to make ends meet by working multiple jobs. Another friend is a soldier celebrating his wife's birthday with a blog entry. And another friend has recently lost her healthy mother to a sudden and catastrophic illness.
Be careful though, I'm not making comparisons. Comparisons in that way (a life to a life) are never apples to apples type scenarios. I am, however, helping to establish a baseline for myself. A baseline of what is good and what is hard in my life. If you will, even what is acceptable. Someone once said, "Don't sweat the small stuff... and it's all small stuff". Well, for the most part that is true. After all, right now I have a rather average life when it comes to hardships. My friends mentioned in the paragraph above are travelling some rocky roads right now, but they are not roads which have not been walked a thousand times by others and at select points in a life, by everyone. Oh they are not the exact situations mentioned, but situations which elicit the same emotional states that they are in right now.
So back to the opening point, which is, much of my frustration in life is... "small stuff". Frustrations which create an emotional storm not because of their size, but because of my lack of perspective on what is important. Much like the poor stamina I have with my yard work this "vacation", my mind has become forgetful of the truly difficult situations in life. In that way, perhaps the challenges in life are workouts for better emotional endurance and to make us stronger, and arguably better, people. I realize that's easy perspective when you are not in the storm. However, everyone knows that in the end a difficult situation always turns into a changed outlook. The sky is never brighter than after the pelting rain and damaging winds have passed. The clean up, however, is another matter.
Whatever the case, I have to go now. There's a paint brush, a shovel and a plunger that awaits my expertise. And afterward, a good hand washing, a cold iced tea and a very special episode of Judge Judy. I'm so thankful for that 2 hour conference call that awaits me this coming Monday!