I pulled into the parking lot of a chain hardware store and parked my big white van. It was Monday, the start of another week, and I had forgotten to bring a specific tool I’d need to assemble a recliner. As luck would have it, the store had exactly what I was looking for, and when I got back into my car, I called one of the families I was visiting to tell them I was en route.
The man on the other end of the line answered and said, “Hello?” a few times. After that, it sounded like he put the phone down and just left it there. I was on the line for about a minute before I hung up and dialed again; reset the process. This time, it went straight to voicemail, and this happened the next few times I tried to call. It was there in the parking lot, before noon, that I realized this wouldn’t be my day.
It’s hard to describe the feeling when you know things just aren’t going to go your way. Despite finally getting a decent night’s sleep, I had woken up feeling groggy and exhausted, a feeling that persisted well into my morning. I just didn’t have that trademark Adam energy and enthusiasm; I hate those days. Still in the parking lot, I put the key into the ignition, turned it, and tried to suppress the sinking feeling in my gut.
Quick Aside: I’ve been interning for another organization for the past few weeks, and they had a big fundraiser that evening I was volunteering for. They told me to arrive when I was able, but obviously I wanted to get there as early as possible. Okay, back to the story.
Despite the bad vibes, my first family visit was without incident, and I thought that my luck was turning around. My other family was somewhere in Central Mass. They still weren’t picking up, but after calling my boss and coworker, they assured me that the family would be ready to receive me when I arrived. When I entered the address in my directional app, however, I couldn’t get a good read on where it was, and I spent over an hour driving around the city, trying to find a place that didn’t seem to exist.
After scouring both directional apps on my phone and the web, I finally realized where the apartment was: about forty minutes away from the city in another town. The address had been incorrect, and I was about ready to tear my hair out. Today was the first time in 15 months on the job that I couldn’t find the place I was looking for, and my frustration was boiling over. I knew that I was going to be late; the question now was how late.
I pressed on, and after passing it on my first go around, I finally found the landmark I had been searching for. The apartment was right behind it, and I figured that this must be the place. I marched right up to the door, knocked twice, and got no response. I was done. I turned around, got in my car, and drove back to my own apartment.
I arrived late to the event, but everyone seemed okay with that, which I was grateful for. The night went off without a hitch, and I spent most of the evening talking to the other volunteers. I cannot tell you how many people asked me if I was in school. I’m hoping that they meant college and not high school, but I was too afraid to ask. One of the people at the event knew my stepmother, but seemed a little confused when I referred to her as such. With a curious look, she asked, “Is her husband your father?”
I simply laughed and replied, “It’s a bit convoluted.”
When I got home that night, it was past 10 o’clock. I was exhausted, having spent a combined 13 hours driving/working/volunteering. I climbed the stairs to my apartment, and headed to my bedroom to take off my suit. Placed on my bed was something that looked like a post card with yellow highlighter on it. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was a summons for jury duty. It was the metaphorical cherry perched atop my Monday sundae, and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Fin.
Now some of y’all may be thinking, “That’s really not that bad of a day,” and to some extent, I agree. I didn’t feel well in the morning, which didn’t help matters, but I’ve definitely had much worse days. I remember days like the one when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to run a marathon I had trained for, and as I walked back to my apartment, I received the call that my grandfather had passed. This day was definitely not in the same area code. This had merely been a frustrating day, but it had gotten to me. I lost my cool, and I’m not proud of that.
I made a promise to myself last night: I would not take anything with me from today into tomorrow; I wouldn’t let the bad vibes spill over into my Tuesday. It’s so important to compartmentalize, and to be able to forget things when the situation calls for it. Deep breaths seem to help as well. When I’m in the throes of a day like this, I simply repeat to myself, “Tomorrow is going to be better.”
This may be similar to my “Balancing Act” post, but to me, it’s looking at the flip side of the coin. The other post focused on making good memories and living fully in those moments. This one is more how to deal with the bad days when they inevitably come, how to put them in perspective, and ultimately, how to forget them. They’re going to come, and there’s nothing to be done about that, but hopefully you can say to yourself at the end of the day, “That wasn’t so bad.”
Maybe you shouldn’t give into the bad days, shouldn’t think those thoughts, but sometimes it just seems like the deck is stacked against you. The important thing is to find the bright spots, moments of levity. Last night, I poured myself a mug of tea and sat down to watch a 30-minute installment of one of my favorite TV shows. Did it totally balance out the day? Hell no, but I at least was able to end it on a high note.
I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, and ready to approach the day. I wasn’t thinking about yesterday, nor was I thinking about tomorrow. I was only focused on trying to make today the best it could possibly be. Sometimes Monday reasserts itself, reminds you of why it has its reputation, but if you make it through, there’s a certain feeling of accomplishment. At the very least, Tuesday is another chance to get it right.