Thursday, June 7, 2012

Movement, crossing paths, and the Flavor in my Mouth is: Today

I have been swishing the word complacent around, trying to see if it was the taste in my mouth or something else. Do stagnation and complacency go hand in hand? In some areas of our lives, it seems easy enough to shake things up—to introduce a change in the form of a class; writing in a different genre, perhaps; going to a different store; taking a vacation. The list is endless.

Complacency seems to lurk most easily in the job sphere where we spend most of our days, and depending on how large or small the company we work for is, how then do we fight against complacency settling in? Or if it already has settled in, how do we go about snapping ourselves out of it? I’m more interested in the small office setting, since the resources may be fewer and the tasks possibly more noticeably mundane.

1. Contented to a fault; self-satisfied and unconcerned.
2. Eager to please; complaisant.

1. Not moving or flowing; motionless.
3a. Showing little or not sign of activity or advancement; not developing or progressing.

I don’t think it’s the taste of complacency that I was experiencing, but possibly stagnation. And it feels as though I skirted this feeling a few blogs ago and that is why I decided to take an accounting class to brush up on my skills, as well as signing up for a short story writing class, which I almost dropped before it started because another direction came to mind. I had to stop myself, recognizing the pattern. If I try to take on too much at one time, I think I’ll eventually throw my hands up and quit. Remember: One step at a time.

I feel pretty good about things, and even if I eventually change my course, I think it will take time to find the right one. And who knows, maybe I’m already right where I’m supposed to be; or maybe I’m just telling myself that. Time will tell. But I’m plugging along in my own way and that’s what matters: I’m moving, flowing—throwing pebbles in the pond.


One of my pet peeves is people that honk their horns too quickly or unnecessarily. Most of the time, I let it go, but yesterday I blew up. I was driving out of the parking garage after work. There are three lanes to turn out to and I wanted the middle or far left lane. I had to wait for all the cars to pass before I could cross over. The lady behind me honked. I looked in my rearview mirror and she had an ugly look on her face and threw her arms up to say, what are you waiting for. Since I can’t very well tell her I’m waiting for the second or third lane, not the first, I point to the road and say the words to myself. I wait. There still isn’t a safe entry for me and I’m not turning on the first lane because it only goes to the right and I want to go straight. I finally have clear pass and I edge out slowly because there are also a couple of people possibly crossing in front of me. She honks again. I’ve had it. I turn around, flip her the bird and yell two explicatives wrapped around YOU. I was heated.

I was also annoyed that I let such a trifle get to me and in those moments I could easily see how road rage happens. I was livid. I’m driving along, breathing, trying to calm my nerves. I thought of how my uncle says, “It’s not your problem, unless you make it your problem,” something along those lines. I should have just waved and smiled. I also thought of a parable about a monk and an empty boat. I can’t remember it precisely, so I laughed to myself and then I turned the situation inside and asked why did you get so upset? Why does this bother you so much? I think it has to do with the fact that people—some people—maybe even many people—are in such a rush and they feel that they need to honk on their damn horns the moment a light turns or in this case when they feel you need to drive. I was upset that she didn’t use her common sense to figure out that I was waiting for, what to me was a good, logical reason. As a rule, I try to limit my horn use to times that I feel that I’m in danger or if someone is taking long due to putting on makeup, talking on the cell phone, or some other non-driving activity. I wait for at least five seconds before I honk. About my blow up: What can I say…It’s one of my pet peeves and it got to me yesterday. I’m human, and I do get upset at certain times.

After I cooled off more completely and laughed some more, I said to myself, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” The thought entered my mind because I saw in an email that day, which I was copied on, that the boss told someone those very words. The seed was planted. And then I remembered there’s a book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work: Simple Ways to Minimize Stress and Conflict While Brining Out the Best in Yourself and Others. I had time before class to head over to the library and it so happens the library branch I went to had the book in stock. I checked it out, headed to class, and began thumbing through it. There were two excerpts that spoke to me in particular on this day: #79 Make the Best of a “Noncreative” position and #13 Join my Club, “TGIT.” TGIT stands for Thank God it’s Today. I smiled when I read through these and other bits of wisdom as I try to ignite my frame of mind toward work. I also found another book when I scanned the nearby books called The Comfort Trap or What if You’re Riding a Dead Horse by Judith Sills, Ph.D. I was curious enough to check it out.

I feel good about right now. Today when I get to work I’ll place a note near my desk with TGIT. I’ll try to remember this and apply it to life in general.

A multitude of roadways lead to similar principles and outcomes: One of the many things I love about life is how many different expressions there are; how many different expressions there have been; and how many different expressions there continue to be—expressions about the same wonderful and not so wonderful things. Each expression our own and at the same time not our own—an ever changing potpourri of all that has crossed our paths and continues to cross our paths.


Definitions from The Free Dictionary

No comments: