I have a new philosophy in life. Applying it has begun to save me a lot of stress. It’s simple in theory.
Just Don’t Look
This idea came to me in the car. I have four children and one on the way. The car is often a great place to sample new ideas, test new theories… I have a captive audience and I myself have no way out. It began when I heard my boys laughing hysterically then one yelled, “wait, no! Don’t squirt all of it out!”
Normally I’d lose it. I’d be craning my neck trying to investigate while driving around curves at 55 mph, and screaming nonsense about something I can’t see, but know I’ll be cleaning up. Usually my children would be holding back even more laughter because I’m making no sense, because I have no idea what’s going on behind me… which in turn makes me even more into the likeness of a lunatic.
This time I realized a few key points. First, I risk our lives when I focus on what’s behind me, rather than on the road in front of me. Second, I sound irrational, and frankly a little stupid, when I begin screaming about something I don’t have a clue about. Third, screaming hasn’t worked on my brood when we aren’t in the car, why entertain my captive audience with it while we are in the car? Fourth, what difference would my craning and yelling make in the moments between current location and destination anyway?
Instead I listened to their laughter. Either way, I was going to clean up something that was being squirted out. But for this moment in time they were all laughing together. They were enjoying each other. And, after a moment I realized I was enjoying them. In a few more moments I realized the ball of stress I felt in my gut was dissipating. I safely drove us to our destination and calmly investigated the squirting hilarity. It indeed was a mess, and I had them all participate in cleaning it up – something else they delighted in doing, much to my surprise.
Sometimes I really do think it’s best to not look. To sit in the moment as it presents itself and not have to know what’s going on, why or how I’ll manage the moments that follow this one. Sometimes the greatest peace comes in simply being present.