On Gratefulness and Flat Tires

Week 5 Monday

Day 30

After having a very busy, busy weekend, I spent part of this afternoon reading on our rooftop deck. It was wonderful. Amazingly, it was almost too warm for a sweater – which is saying something for Seattle in March. It was almost seventy degrees and the sun held all afternoon and into the evening, so Josh and I took advantage and broke our restaurant fast for a beer and fish and chips at one of those indoor/outdoor places in our neighborhood. We had a great time talking about all the new things we’ve gotten into lately – Josh training for the STP, me writing this blog and all the activities that have gone along with it.

Although this is a new week and I am focusing on another way to happiness, I’ve decided that I’d like to continue to do at least one new thing each week. Whether that’s learning something new or just setting out to have a new experience, there are millions of options and given how much I enjoyed it, I think it’s worth it. This week though, I’m focusing on being grateful.

To be honest though, the word “grateful” makes me squirm. I think of those yoga classes I took in the Valley where the instructor encouraged us to “Celebrate yourself!” when we were all struggling to breathe while contorting ourselves into muscle-shaking, pretzel-like shapes. (Full disclosure, I enjoy yoga, but having an instructor cheerily burst out with that little tidbit was too much at seven in the morning.) Grateful just seems so hippy-dip….like those smiley-faced bell bottoms I wore in the 90s.

It’s not that I’m going through my days ungrateful – I think I do a good job of appreciating when Josh makes my morning coffee – but it’s a known fact that cultivating gratefulness leads to a focusing on the positive. So this afternoon, when I was on my way to pick up some library books and bring Josh his lunch, I tried to practice gratefulness when the bus got a flat tire.

Immediately after boarding the bus, we started into the intersection and the bus ever-so-gently kissed the curb and BANG-bump-bump-bump. The bus driver decided it would be better to drive on rather than block all the construction work, so we slowly limped to the next stop about a 1/4 of a mile away. Before I could get annoyed at the delay, I reminded myself of the following:

  1. There was no rush. Other than Josh maybe being hungry, there was no reason for me to get upset over a short delay. I could decide to be grateful that I wasn’t on my way to an interview or some other time-sensitive errand.
  2. The tire blew while we were crawling through an intersection and, other than the loud noise, there was no indication. I was grateful that it didn’t happen on the freeway.
  3. It was SUNNY. It could have been pouring down rain and forty degrees like it is most days in March.
  4. It wasn’t even a long delay; we just had to wait until the next scheduled bus – 10 minutes later.

Yes, it was somewhat annoying. But instead of amping myself up over how irritating it was and how I probably wouldn’t get a seat because the next bus would be too crowded, I took the opportunity to soak up some clear blue sky and Washington sunshine. I turned on a podcast I’d been meaning to listen to and when the next bus rolled up, I was able to get a seat without a problem.

Rather than showing up in a bad mood, I told Josh about the tiny adventure with a smile and it led to an interesting conversation about tires and then talk about the road trips we’ve taken. Speaking of which – once, we ran over pieces of wood falling out of the truck in front of us going seventy miles an hour at night. Fifty miles from our destination over a mountain pass in North Carolina. Now that was scary and cause for concern – little flat tire on a city bus? Pssshhhhh. Again and again, I’m reminded that happiness can be an actual choice; especially if I don’t let a flat tire stop me.


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