“I don’t have pet peeves, I have whole kennels of irritation.” Whoopie Goldberg
At first this quote might not make sense, but look closer. It is a fun play on words that makes me smile. I like the clever use of words – even puns that make me groan. But this ramble is about the subject of the quote, not the cleverness of it, but that may come later.
We all have things that irritate us. I get irritated about people leaving empty paper rolls on the spindle; empty cartons put back in the refrigerator; towels dropped on a restroom floor after they have been used to open the door and such. Most of the things that get under my skin are things I consider rude.
As I have gained life experiences, my list of pet peeves has grown smaller, which might surprise many of you. I find I am more tolerant of other people’s habits than I used to be. Also, I have learned I can’t change anyone but myself and I put more value on my time now than I did when I was 20.
Letting someone’s rudeness ruin my day is my choice and I prefer to put my energies towards having good days. But sometimes, it just happens. The driver that changed lanes without signaling (yes, another one of my pet peeves) will get the best of me. All the way to work I fuss about his bad driving habits, so when I arrive my attitude is not pleasant. This attitude is picked up on by my co-workers and supervisors, they walk around me and talk in soft voices. Now I have ruined another aspect of my day.
When you are faced with an irritation how do you react? Does your response affect your entire day? It was an “Aha!” moment when I realized I am not responsible for everyone’s bad habits only mine. I was freed from worrying about every insult to my senses and given back time for useful things – like writing.
I am not perfect, but I do try to not let daily irritations rule me.
Recently read an article by Francisco Santos, Regional Director for H&R Block, where he wrote about Being Busy Isn’t the Same as Being Productive. He is correct. When I sit down to write, sometimes I am just busy – checking reviews, sales results, straightening paper in the tray, making sure there are plenty of paperclips in the holder, etc. None of these things are unimportant but are they important? Are they productive? The short answer is no, not when my goal was to write.
Mr. Santos states as humans we strive and are wired to be busy. Even when we are just sitting around, our mind is busy and frequently we have something to work on in our laps (knitting, carving, eating, reading, playing a musical instrument, planning a takeover of the world, etc.) Becoming productive isn’t something you just find yourself doing. How do you get from busy to productive?
For me, the move to being productive is a conscious step. I make the decision to write, even if the writing is terrible; it is productive as it will lead to better writing. While checking on my paperclip supply serves a purpose, but it doesn’t move me to be a productive writer unless my story is about paperclips and then its research.
I was looking forward to seeing the Northern Lights this past month. They were going to be over my head after 11:00 p.m but it was recommended to get outside of the city for the best view. I drove outside the city, parked on a dark road and waited. The weather was perfect, only a few clouds in the sky, and warm enough that only a light jacket was needed. I waited.
The stars were shining, and I could pick out several constellations. The breeze blew ever so gently. Staring at the sky, I waited.
Drove a little further north, avoiding all the cities, and busy roads. All the while watching the sky for the start of the predicted show.
After an hour, I had to go home as I would have to be up in 5 hours to go to work. I drove slowly with a vigilant eye to the sky.
This is the third time I have stayed up late, driven out of town and waited to be disappointed. One time I drove almost a hundred miles and spent the night at a hotel with the expectations the Lights would be spectacular from this vantage point.
The next day I learned the Northern Lights had been visible at my house!
This adventure continues.