Lately I have allowed the minutia of my world to wear on me. My daily life is one of many details, the sales world, full of ups and downs. I haven’t had a big win in a while, although I have had a couple of massive opportunities. This is the part of the racquetball season where I have to really buckle down and keep myself and the team focused, as we are far away from our season-ending event. Its a month out from my next speaking gig. None of these things are problems, but I allowed them to rent space in my head as such.
Then I woke up Monday morning to a couple of missed calls throughout the night, and
…a text from my sister that just said: Call me. I knew right away what this was about.
My father was driving home from fishing up north all weekend, and something happened. The whole world stopped. My hands were shaking as I made that call my sister. I was afraid of the answer, the likely answer in my mind, that my father had died in a car accident. After a few rings she answered. “Hi, Dad’s okay, but….”
A huge wave of relief washed over me. I had to sit down for a moment afterwards. He had rolled his truck, at least a couple of times, down an embankment at about 9:30PM on Sunday night. Luckily for him, someone in a passing car stopped to help and stayed with him until the police arrived. The tow truck came later, yanking the truck and the travel trailer back up the hill to get it loaded up on the flatbed you see in the photo at the top.
I have been preparing myself for this call for a long time. My Dad is getting up there in age, but still very active and independent. I assumed that at some point he was going to be involved in an accident, it was a matter of time. I have resided myself to the idea that I would prefer he died doing something that he loved versus being miserable and wasting away in a chair in front of the TV at home. He hunts and fishes, many times by himself, as he is retired and has the flexibility to do so. I can’t go with him nearly as often as I would like, as my busy life gets in the way of many of his activities. Driving at night is concern enough, but in the mountains where there are deer and elk running around after dark is a level up. I wish he wouldn’t do it, but he does.
The Slap of Perspective I got out of this was a reset of my priorities. NOTHING ELSE MATTERED when I made that call to my sister. I could have won the lottery the night before, and it wouldn’t have mattered one bit in that moment. If someone I love and care about was hurt or killed, everything else goes out the window. There are priorities in life, and then there are the things that REALLY matter. I am doing fine at work in the grand scheme of things, coaching the racquetball team is meant to be fun, not a grind. ALL of this minutia takes a back seat when someone you love has a life-altering event.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking I have problems in my life. I currently don’t have problems, I have inconveniences and irritations. Problems are a loved one dealing with cancer, the death of a family member or close friend, etc. EVERYTHING ELSE falls short of this, and into the category of inconveniences. In the big picture view of things, this way of looking at things needs to be how I live my life. I think everyone should look at life through that lens. The next time someone cuts you off in traffic or rips your latest social media post, step back and give yourself some room for perspective. I’ve complained about getting cucumbers on a sandwich…seriously. think about that.
So, moving forward, I will use this situation as a reminder that I do not have problems in my life. I have inconveniences, things that may irritate me, but I don’t have real problems. I have at times, but for now I am fortunate enough to say that I do not. And I need to remember that, because as a flawed human like everyone else, this too will slip to the back of my mind and eventually be something that needs to be a triggered thought instead of being top of mind. I am going to write a talk about this as well, and hopefully others can gain a little perspective from this situation, and at least for a while, benefit from my own Slap of Perspective.
NEVER EVER lose sight of Gratitude, as ALL OF US have much to be grateful for.