Last Wednesday, I pulled into a 7-11 to put gas in my car after work. There I saw a sign for “$1 ANY SIZE COFFEE WEDNESDAYS!” I didn’t need coffee, since I brew my own at home each morning, but I figured I would save myself a minute or two on Thursday.
I filled the very largest available 7-11 coffee cup with delicious Columbian roast, adding no cream or sugar. I figured Sara and I could split it into two mugs and spruce it up the next day.
When I walked (my tiny self) up to my 3rd floor apartment, I was lugging an umbrella, my work laptop bag, a purse, a lunch bag, my cell phone, the key to my front door, and the now-filled, very largest available 7-11 coffee cup. I managed to carry it all meticulously. I successfully unlocked my front door by awkwardly balancing some objects between a crooked shoulder and tilted chin and others on a bent knee.
I tripped over a package in my doorway that I could not see over the mass of perfectly-balanced stuff.
The contents of the no-longer-filled, very largest available 7-11 coffee cup:
- seeped into my entryway carpet
- repainted the surrounding walls
- sprayed my clothes, shoes, and legs
- bespeckled my work laptop bag
- splashed new color onto BOTH sides of my front door (I hypothesize that it was swinging closed while the liquid was mid-splash)
- and enlivened the appearance of the mysterious package itself. It turned out to be a birthday present for me, a (now-spotted) novel.
But I did not waste my dollar that day.
I burst into a fit of laughter the likes of which has never been seen when I (1) created such a large-scale, accidental mess and (2) am in only my own company. If someone else –Sara– laughed about it, I might see the humor. But ordinarily, this little catastrophe might be enough to ruin my day and cause a meltdown. I would mope and begin to ponder all other things that stress me out, ranging from hangnails to family drama in an endless downward spiral of icky self-pity.
Instead, I laughed at my own absurdity. After all, I could have just made two trips upstairs or set some objects down to unlock my front door. It all boiled down to silliness. I cleaned up the impressively distributed mess with a smile on my face.
And in that moment, I discovered that I am an entirely different me.
This time last year, stress was killing me. Unfortunately, we can’t always control whether or not a “stressful situation” occurs by making better decisions about how much to carry. Someone wise told me that the only things I have the absolute power to change are my mind and my reactions. And so I did – albeit, gradually. I committed myself to becoming happy when I created The Smile Scavenger blog on June 20, 2012.
I succeeded. It took $1 worth of spilled coffee for me to realize that last Wednesday.
After so many life lessons, I do not have a “happy bubble” left. But now, at last, I see the world as it is -good and bad- and I am a happy person.
Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot. -Charlie Chaplin