Finding Perspective In My Frustration

My wife, Christina, and I were heading back from an amazing weekend getaway. We rented this great little cottage through Airbnb that was minutes from a quaint little town filled with good wine and good food.

We were making our way home, feeling recharged and happy that we got away for a few days when I saw flashing lights fill my rearview mirror. I guess I was a little too recharged, placing some of that extra energy on the gas pedal.

It was annoying for sure, but there wasn’t much to be done aside from paying the ticket, so we pulled back on the road and continued the journey home (side note here: apparently I’m a complete moron when it comes to properly filling out a ticket and my plea of guilty or not guilty. My friends enjoyed some laughs at my expense on this one).

Once we did some grocery shopping, picked up our dog, and ate some lunch, I decided to take advantage of the mild weather outside and hit the pavement for a run. I’m registered to run a half marathon next month, so I’ve been training for it for a while. I began the process back in September and got my longest run up to 11.8 miles in December. I was feeling great about my progress…and then winter came. Freezing temperatures and an abundance of snow made it hard to get outside and get substantial runs in. I had to settle for the treadmill, which revealed my tragically short attention span. I couldn’t stand to be on it for more than a few miles. Why is all of this important? Because as the winter weather wore on, I missed many chances to get some outdoor training in. Yesterday afternoon, this resulted in a whopping….3.1 miles on the road. That’s a 5K, so it wasn’t terrible, but knowing that I have 13.1 miles to cover in less than a month is a little intimidating.

After the speeding ticket and my lackluster run, frustration was starting to permeate through my day.

As the day turned into night and Christina and I were relaxing with a good book and a cup of tea, I decided to plug in my phone and part ways with my technology. To my unpleasant surprise, I discovered that I had left my charger at the cottage that we just came from. In Canada. An hour and a half away.

Speeding ticket. Disappointing run. Charger left behind.

Quite the trifecta.

If you know me at all, you’d know that I have a very long fuse when it comes to getting angry. It takes a potent combination of events to put me over the edge with rage. Yesterday’s events didn’t make me red in the face with anger, but I can’t say that they weren’t frustrating. Coming off the high of a great weekend away with my lady, these three shots of reality in close succession were a bummer.

I woke up this morning with a little residue of the funk I was feeling yesterday, so I decided to channel that into an appropriate guided meditation to start my day. I found one entitled “Releasing Frustration” on my Insight Timer app and settled in. The meditation itself was great, but it was one specific line that inspired me to write this blog post:

“If you knew that today was the last day of your life, would your current frustrations matter?”

When I heard it, I felt the tension roll out of my shoulders. Zooming out to see the big picture was all that was necessary for me to stop dwelling on the unfortunate turn of events from yesterday.

The ticket will get paid. My running endurance and distance will increase. My cell phone charger will either get replaced or sent my way once it’s found.

They all seemed so insignificant once the voice in my headphones gave me the perspective necessary. If this was my last 24 hours, I wouldn’t spend any of that time worrying about the annoyances that confronted me yesterday.

I think we all have events like these that consume us. They frustrate us and we perseverate over them. But they ultimately don’t matter in the grand scheme of our lives. If we all took a minute to take a deep breath, zoom out, and see what really matters, our frustrations would shrink, if not cease altogether.

My frustrations followed one of the most incredible weekends I’ve had in months. I got to celebrate my parents’ birthdays and spend time with my family on Friday night, then ship off for a long weekend with my wife in an amazing town that we’ve come to enjoy over the years. In the larger picture of my weekend, my frustrations immediately shrank. In the even larger canvas of my life, they are nearly invisible.

When you find yourself frustrated, do yourself a favor and fight for perspective. Take a step back and look at what really matters in your life. We will all encounter annoyances and circumstances that we don’t enjoy, but they don’t have to consume us. We can call them out for how meaningless they are, and keep moving towards the stuff that we care about.

Perspective is a gift in times of frustration. Don’t be afraid to accept it.

 

Until next time,

Nick

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