Curveballs and water heaters

It has felt like a rough few weeks. A few days ago our water heater burst in our basement, ruining the floor, baseboards and some of the walls, and they found asbestos. Luckily we were home and not traveling, as the water heater was continuously refilling and emptying, it started in the middle of the night and we found it the next morning. We took this week off to recharge a bit, so starting Sunday morning using the wet vac to suck out the water, call plumbers for new water heaters, and the insurance company was not how I wanted to start a week of vacation. Additionally, most of Nico’s toys are downstairs and it is where we spend the most time with him.

I am not going to lie. I’ve been extremely frustrated and short. I had a plan for how we were going to spend the week. Day dates with Chris, sleeping in as much as Nico would let us, and definitely not waiting for contractors to come or sitting on the phone to find out the insurance process is extremely slow and frustrating.

And then…we take a moment and realize that the insurance company is slow and frustrating because they have been on the phone with families in California who have lost their homes. My heart goes out to those that have lost their homes and it is a startling reminder that the flooding in our basement while annoying and disruptive is not nearly as big of a deal when I think of all the families that may not have a home. Interesting how quickly things can be put in perspective.

A few weeks ago a good friend was attacked in the face by a stranger and may need to undergo reconstructive surgery to his face. It took me almost a week to process that this happened. My friend is extremely fit and definitely capable of taking care of himself and hearing about the experience made me realize how vulnerable we all are – which can be scary. As a woman I am always aware of when I am safe or not, and when I am alone at night how freaky it can be. To learn that someone I care about was hurt, and probably did not have a moment to react, makes me fearful, but also aware that we never really know what is going to happen next. If we live in fear then we are never really living. A group of friends that love him started this Go Fund Me to raise money for his recovery. Feel free to contribute if your heart desires. He is one of the really good ones, and always takes care of others.

Like I said it has been a rough few weeks (other things in addition to the water heater and my friend) but I will not bore you with the details. Instead I am hopeful that I am reminding you to look up and squeeze the hand of someone you love, give them a hug, tell your kid how much you appreciate and love them, or maybe it is a coworker that could use a little lift. We always have more than we realize even when the world throws curveballs our way. Just take a moment to see and be grateful for the little things even when they may be hardest to see.

You are responsible for you.

I have wanted to frame the quote: “You are responsible for the energy you bring into this home.” I think of that idea often. It can translate into so many other places. “You are responsible for the energy you bring to this company, this job, this friendship, this marriage.” We are each responsible for our own energy. Do you think about that before entering or responding to a situation? Do you put yourself first, and think responsibly about the state of your energy before helping or saying: “Yes” to others? It will matter and help or hinder your ability to respond appropriately.

You are in the driver’s seat. Sometimes I think we forget that. We think “well I could not get out of this situation, it happened, it was bad timing.” Sometimes that might be true, but other times we have a choice, and we either forget, or do not challenge ourselves to be our best selves. You do truly create each moment of your day. Well…actually, you create how you react to each moment of each day. The best way to do so is to put yourself first. It is not selfish, it is self-care to make sure you are grounded and prepared to handle any curve balls that are thrown your way. I recently caught up on a stack of old Fast Company magazines, and found this article by Devora Zack. The article is about managers that suck, which is funny because I am not at all interested in the title of the article, but found this great quote, on what we can focus on, and control. It could be popped right out of the article and speak for itself:

“In fact, you only directly control three things in the entire world. Interestingly, none of these are other people. You are in charge of your thoughts, your words, and your actions. That’s it. Most of us neglect these three key items, however. Instead we direct our precious, limited energy on thinking and talking about how others should be different. This is fruitless and even lazy. As long as I’m focused on what’s wrong with you, I don’t need to pay any attention to improving me.”

As Zack states, we have control over our thoughts, words, and actions. We probably all know that already. We just forget about it. Together let’s focus our energy on what matters. Focus on our ourselves, and watch the energy we bring into each conversation. I have a hunch that the more you focus on it the more aware you will be on how you handle your energy in good and bad situations.