Have you ever been massively stressed out because you showed up incredibly late to an important event that didn’t even exist?
Yeah? Me too. Here’s what happened to me yesterday:
I am part of an artistic group that I’m super jazzed to be a part of. I had spent a good portion of my day working on my “exhibit” that I would showcase along with the other artists. It’s something we do once a month in order to constructively critique our work and sharpen our skills.
The problem is that some of us artistic people are sometimes more creative than organized, more distracted than punctual, more scattered all over the place than efficient.
So it was no surprise last night I felt myself internally blowing a gasket when:
My husband forgot about my meeting despite repeated reminders, thus forgetting to come home from work to watch our young son so I wouldn’t be late for the fourth time in a row.
At 6:59 pm, I stopped by the local gag-a-burger joint en route. I was 2nd in line at the drive thru (“One fry, one sweet tea, please hurry, thank you!”) only to have to wait 9 ENTIRE minutes for ONE car in front of me to receive their order. I watched my rear view mirror as the line began to snake an entire circle around the joint. I had no room to back up and abandon my order, and I couldn’t ram the driver in front of me to “the special designated area for “folks whose custom orders delay EVERYTHING for the rest of us.” I was forced to wait!
I felt my blood pressure points accumulate faster than the points on a Medieval Madness pinball machine. To make matters worse, Bachman Turner Overdrive was singing “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” on the radio. For whatever reason that song totally grates on my nerves and added to my stress levels. I began to scroll down the paltry six presets on my radio:
- Station One: Lady Gaga. No, please!
- (Switch) Katy Perry. No Lord, I beg you please, double no! Not if it were the last song on earth!
- (Switch) Commercial (Men are you urinating more frequently then you used to?)
- (Switch) Another commercial (Parents, does your child talk back to you at least once per month?)
- (Switch) Pearl Jam (Jeremy Spoke in Class Today)—should I blog about the deeper meaning of this song or chuck the thought? I quickly decide on the latter. I realize the song is weirder than my weirdest thoughts and yet it intrigues me how such lyrics generated millions of dollars and fans. Whatever!
- Switch–Classical music. Cool! I start to calm. I go to Whole Foods in my mind and make 15 cups of Kona breakfast blend with lots of brown sugar and cream. I meditate here for a moment.
7:29 pm. I have arrived at my destination. Let the stress of late begin.
Everything this entire forsaken day has transpired against me it seems. Nothing got finished on time. I had been disorganized, delayed and detained all day. No hour of the day remotely resembled the hour preceding it. It was all I could do to make up a new ultra creative excuse for why my family sometimes forgets why this night is important to me.
Criminy! I barged into the room, now thirty minutes late, where the other artists would already be showing and critiquing their work. They would be calm, in place, at peace, focused, and ready to present. I would be out of breath, frazzled, confused, and wondering if I could slowly slink by and find a chair without spilling my wares or causing everyone to look at the REALLY LATE girl (again).
“Hi, I’m sorry I’m…..” OH! Wait a minute. ..
These aren’t my people! These people were immersed in a bible study with soothing moments of solitude, prayers, peacefulness, and calmness. Like those who shall someday inherit the earth, I meekly said, “Is this the Thursday Night Artists Club?” Duh! I knew it wasn’t!! I was just grasping to say anything at all while my breath was making its way in from the parking lot to catch up to my body.
“No sweetie, it’s not. But you could probably ask someone at the front desk on your way out.” Gahhh!
I couldn’t exit quick enough! It finally dawned on me. I ran to my car and fished thru my purse full of clutter. Finally! I found my pocket calendar. Yes, I know my phone has a calendar, but I’m always afraid I’ll lose my phone if I rely on it for not just phone numbers, Facebook, and photos, but my actual life plan so I view a paper calendar as an insurance policy, a reverse Murphy’s Law if you will, that as long as I don’t totally DEPEND on my phone, I’m insured against losing it. Just a stupid mind game I play myself, but hey we all have them!
I pull out the calendar. Though I clearly knew the day of the week (Thursday) I had inadvertently forgotten the date! I see now it’s the 5th Thursday of the month. Though we meet the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, I had not run into this 5th week phenomenon before.
Deflated and breathless I take a moment and realize I am the Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. I live my days traveling at the speed of light from moment to moment and task to task but often with the awareness of a gnat. I not only don’t see the forest through the trees sometimes, I sometimes miss the fact that I’ve left the woods entirely and am now suddenly surrounded by Mac trucks on an eight lane interstate.
All this technology to keep us in check, we spend all our time emailing, texting, status-updating (way guilty!), messaging, tweeting, chronicling and calendaring ourselves into oblivion. By attempting to do everything, we often accomplish nothing.
In the end, my daughter called. She’d be coming home in an hour! A rare treat! We only see her a few times a year now as she is in college, living at the beach this summer, and traveling still between jobs. She’d be crashing at our house for just tonight. She wants sushi rolls for supper. Downtown. With all the trendy people under perpetual Christmas lights with their shiny cars that are parked by the valet.
So now that I’m free tonight, it’s a date. Our family goes. My seven year old has only a banana split with massive whip cream and ice cream for dinner, as he is not sushi-tolerant yet. I justify this sugar infusion since he will also be dealing with sleep deprivation tomorrow at school. Oh well, not my problem.
And so it goes. Another day in the life of Liz. No two hours are the same. If you have a family you may have a life like that too. You wake up dreaming of order and art; you close the day with chaos, crabmeat, and chopsticks eating “Steven Tyler”. It’s TRUE! That’s what my sushi dish was called; The Steven Tyler. It was delicious! We also ate the Bob Marley but passed on the Marilyn Monroe.
A change of plans is our only constant in our busy lives. We’ve but one option: Roll with it.
“It was amazing how you could get so far from where you’d planned, and yet find it was exactly were you needed to be.” Sarah Dessen: “What Happened to Goodbye”
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11