First-World Fretting: Life is Too Important to Sweat the Small Stuff
A few months ago, I had a bad day – at least in my own mind. In reality, all was right with the world. My family was happy and healthy, I was making a living doing what I love, and we were safe, comfortable, and taken care of. However, I fell victim to the trap of first world fretting. I let the minuscule take over and made issues out of non-issues. Maybe you can relate….
One of the PR Firms I work with had just gotten a new rep. The rep she replaced would constantly send my kids surprise packages and we never had to worry about event tickets, shipping, etc. The new rep is different, and when I found out we wouldn’t be getting enough tickets for our whole family to attend an event that has been on our calendar for almost a year, I was MAD.
A few minutes later, I found myself noticing the many many crumbs littering my floor. My vacuum had broken earlier in the week. I never liked it to begin with, but it kinda-sorta sucked up the mess 6 people create. At that point, it wouldn’t even turn on, and my floor was disgusting. (You should know I’m the type of person that can’t relax knowing there is a single dish in the sink the the girl who has to fight off a nervous breakdown when there are shoes in the middle of the room.) And there were crumbs and bits of paper and grass EVERYWHERE.
In my frustration, I went out to see the chickens. We had just been given 4 year-old hens a week earlier. As I checked the egg boxes and came up empty, my mind went to a place of disappointment instead of one of gratitude.
I walked back to the house noticing the yard-work and landscaping that needs to be done, and started worrying that we wouldn’t be able to get the yard looking good in time for the harvest party we were hosting later that month.
I allowed one small thing to take control of my mind and within minutes, the negativity began to snowball. Frustration breeds more frustration. Discontent grows. Negativity builds. Griping and complaining are addictive and lead us down a dangerous path that is hard to break away from.
When you find yourself bothered by things, you’ll soon find yourself bothered by more things. Negativity and frustration have a way of creating a well-worn path in our life. In our anger we tread a path of bitterness, resentment, rage, and frustration. We get worked up. We give in to stress. We walk up and down this path of negativity until the tread is deep and a rut has been formed. We stay angry. We not only notice the bad – we seek it out.
We’ve become a culture so consumed with our first world problems. Our latte costs too much. We can’t get a new couch until our next paycheck. Our favorite tv show is getting cancelled. Our air conditioning doesn’t work. The person in front of us is driving too slow. Someone at the movies smells. Disneyland is changing the Rivers of America. We care far too much about the molehills of life.
When we start to focus on all of those little inconveniences and small “problems” we forget what matters. We throw gratitude to the wind and revel in our negativity. “I’m not getting my way right now! My life stinks!” “I can’t have everything I want. This life is terrible!”
When we don’t get our oompa loompas NOW….when we have to wait….when we can’t afford something…..when life gets tough….we must do everything in our power to keep negativity at bay. If we’re not careful, something small like a spilled cup of coffee or an extra five minutes in the grocery line can become our focus. Those tiny little annoyances do not have to ruin our day. We CHOOSE that outcome. We CHOOSE to let the small irritations, inconveniences, delays, and frustrations be our focus.
Choose differently. Clean it up. Wait patiently. Brush it off. Move on. Life is so much bigger than broken vacuums, dishes in the sink, and the lady with a dozen coupons in front of you in the checkout line. Don’t let the little things consume you. When it really comes down to it – they’re just not worth it!
Your time and LIFE is of so much more value. We don’t have the time to spend upset about the tiny things. Life is too important and too precious to sweat the small stuff. Let it go. Shake it off. Keep moving forward. Life is too short to let the little things get you down.