Life’s Little Inconveniences

They say the only way to keep things from showing up in your life over and over again is to learn their lesson.

My lessons this month came disguised as a broken television, a jammed TIVO and ants in my kitchen. Oh, and my dachshund’s allergies came back with a vengeance. And the Christmas lights shorted out for the bazillionth time since I put them up three days ago. And a giant stain magically appeared on the collar of the new jacket I put on this morning.

I found that if I just gave in to them, the inconveniences were all around me. If I didn’t catch myself, my entire month was an inconvenience waiting to happen.

You don’t have to look that far to find them. Anything that distracts you from doing the things you keep promising yourself you’re going to do — whether it’s write a book, start exercising, or just spending more time sitting around doing nothing and not feeling guilty about it — is an inconvenience.

My broken television and TIVO required calls to the manufacturers to find out what I should do. That meant not only phone calls, but scheduling service and hoping the problems could be fixed with as little time investment as possible..

The ants in my kitchen also meant I had to schedule and wait for the exterminator.

My dachshund’s allergies required yet another trip to the vet.

The Christmas lights that had shorted out meant at least an hour fiddling with tiny fuses that no human hand is small enough to replace.

As for the giant stain on my new jacket, I had to do a quick wardrobe change before work, run to the cleaners and hope the jacket wouldn’t come back with one of those sad face stickers that say “we’re sorry, we tried our best.” Translation: It’s time to get another jacket.

All of this meant I had to take time I’d planned to do other things — like go to they gym three times a week after work — to handle all the unexpected inconveniences.

The thing is, if you don’t watch out, you’ll always find inconveniences you can use as excuses to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

The temptation is to neglect the things you promised yourself you would do and take care of the unexpected. However, breaking promises to yourself puts you on a fast road to unhappiness.

So, what should you do? First, measure the urgency of the situation and see if it can wait. If your house is burning down and you promised yourself a nap after work, it’s best you call the fire department before fluffing your pillow. But if your dryer dishwasher stopped in mid-cycle and you know it has no intention of starting again anytime soon, do whatever it is you promised yourself first. The broken dishwasher will wait till you get back.

When you get back from whatever it is you wanted to do, get into action.

But don’t get caught up in trying to do everything at once. Just do one thing at a time. That’s right,one thing. You’ll find the motivation you get from doing that one thing will lead to you doing another thing, then another. Soon you’ll find everything is done and you’re left with a great feeling of satisfaction and self esteem.

Life’s inconveniences are lessons in disguise. Instead of cursing them, let’s embrace them. In the big scheme of things, they’re really not that big a deal. But the patience they teach deposits high dividends into the bank account of our lives.

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