Don't sweat the small stuff. It's one of those clichés that's actually worth repeating. However, despite what the late author/motivational speaker, Richard Carlson has claimed, it's not all small stuff. Cancer for instance. That can't be lumped into the "Small Stuff" category. If your house is being foreclosed on and you have nowhere else to live, that's not small stuff either. Women whose lives are threatened in Afghanistan simply because they want an education...well that's really big stuff.
As I write this my car is in the shop. I am hundreds of miles from my LA home and I need to get back. I need to get back to get my son to school tomorrow and because I have doctor appointments scheduled and Hanukkah preparations to make (Hanukkah starts Wednesday night). I need to get home because my mail is only being held by the post office until tomorrow and I have a plant that will probably die if not cared for soon and a gecko who won't be very happy with me if I'm not there in the near future to clean out her cage, give her fresh water and more food. I also don't have a lot of money in the bank right now to shell out for a major repair.
None of this is good news. But in the grand scheme of things it's small stuff. It's incredibly inconvenient stuff but that's about it. Although I am away from home I'm familiar with the mechanic who I had to take my car to. I trust that he's not going to take advantage of me. Plus my mechanic in LA actually gave me his personal cell phone number so I could call him and consult with him before authorizing the mechanic here to do anything that might be pricey. As for the money issue, the fact is that I'll be getting a decent sized check in January and if I need to borrow some money from family to tide me over until then so be it. I won't like doing it but I'm fortunate enough to have the kind of family who will help me with things like that. Having family support isn't small stuff, swallowing my pride in order to borrow money from them for a month is. Plants can be replaced, kids sometimes miss school and doctor's appointments can be rescheduled. And even if I have to rush to get things ready for Hanukkah I'll still be able to do it.
So the temper tantrum I was tempted to throw when my car started growling at me is unwarranted and unjustified. It's hard to take a step back and acknowledge that your problems aren't all that significant in the grand scheme of things. Easy to forget that in a lot of countries a large majority of the population can't afford any car and those who can only have a few paved and safe roads on which they can travel. It's easy to forget that some people can't afford to buy groceries. There are lots and lots of people who have no one to borrow money from or if they do they have no way to repay the borrowed sums. It's really easy to get so wrapped up in Hanukkah and Christmas shopping that you forget that there are people all over this earth who aren't allowed to celebrate their religious and cultural holidays at all.
So I'm prepared to skip on the tantrum and sit around patiently until someone can tell me exactly how much money I need to come up with and how long it will take to fix the problem. I won't break out in a sweat over the small stuff.
Instead I'll be thankful. Thankful for all my blessings, thankful for my ability to have some perspective and incredibly thankful that this car problem has given me at least an hour to take a much desired nap.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
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