A couple of years ago over the holidays, I went to Minnesota to visit my mom’s side of the family. For about as long as I can remember, we have stayed at a hotel called the Kelley Inn in Plymouth, Minnesota, not too far from where my grandmother lives. One of my favorite things to do at the hotel is relax in the hot tub and pool.
One morning after I ate breakfast and exercised, I changed into my swimsuit and walked down to the hot tub. It was a typical morning-I was tired from my workout, but in a good way. I waded into the hot tub, looking forward to relaxing my aching muscles.
As I waded into the hot tub, I realized something important, and it caused me to curse out loud. My cell phone was in my pocket. I just walked into the hot tub with my cell phone in my pocket.
I jumped out of the hot tub, and quickly dried off my cell phone. It wouldn’t turn on. I put it in a bag of rice for a couple of days. Still nothing. The phone was dead.
It was bad timing for my phone to die. I was about to travel out of the country for a week, and I didn’t have time to get a new phone before I left. This was going to be a huge hassle for me, and it was my own fault.
My Normal Reaction
My normal reaction when life happens is to get upset and frustrated. I judge myself harshly, wondering how I could have been so stupid. I replay the scene in my mind, trying to figure out what went wrong and how I could have done something differently. I think about how I could prevent a similar thing from happening in the future. Maybe you can relate to the frustration and anger you experience when something bad happens, and it’s nobody’s fault but your own. It’s easy to ruminate and stew over the negative event in your life.
I don’t think this way of reacting is very helpful, however, so I’m trying to do life differently. The fact is that sometimes life happens. Sometimes a flood happens and it ruins everything in your basement. Sometimes you lose your keys or credit card. Sometimes you walk into the hot tub with your cell phone in your pocket.
We Choose Our Reaction
When life happens, it’s natural to be frustrated and upset. But it’s not a good idea to stay there. Whatever happened, it’s already done. I couldn’t change anything about the fact that my cell phone was dead. It was dead, and there was nothing I could do about it. I could spend my energy being upset about it, or I could move forward, doing what needed to be done (e.g., going through the hassle of getting a new phone) and being curious about what the event and its aftermath might teach me about myself (i.e., be more content without electronics, recognize my addiction to checking my cell phone, etc.). The choice about how we react is up to us. For me, the second option results in more happiness and well-being, so that’s what I’m trying to do moving forward.