Keep Calm and Carry On Gets a Makeover

Podcasts are life when it comes to my morning commute. I treat myself to 20- ish minutes of, depending on my mood, personal development, true crime mysteries, or just plain nonsense.  It was while listening to one of my favorite podcasts that I found an unexpected golden nugget of advice.  The guest was describing her approach when faced with the details of life run amuck – the kind that, won’t set your life in a tailspin, but could very well ruin a perfectly good morning if you let them.  “First world problems”, if you will.  She sums up this mind set as “Not Taking it On.”  Listen here for a full explanation including what led her into this direction.  The basic premise is when something craptastic happens to you, don’t make it a thing. Don’t obsess over it, don’t blow it out of proportion, don’t internalize the situation, and don’t give it life by even talking about it.  You have the choice, you have the power to just move on ignoring, to the extent possible, that it ever happened.

I have accepted this into my life and let me tell you, it’s transformative. It helps keep a smile on my face and focus on my priorities and my people.  This is not about ignoring injustice or letting people treat you poorly.  It is about letting go of the little stuff.

This is what “not taking it on” looks like to me.

My car was rear ended by a van in the school parking lot three days before Christmas.  Everyone was fine.  The kids enjoyed their close encounter with the local police department and I did not take that on. 

It took a month to coordinate insurance and the body shop to pay the claim and take my car in to be fixed.  Meanwhile, I drove my car with a back up camera that incessantly blared when there was nothing behind me.  I turned the music louder and I did not take that on.

Our rental car was fondly referred to as the blue bus.  While spacious enough for three kids and a hockey bag  suitcase, the vehicle’s size made it necessary for me to perform a small acrobatics act to get situated in the driver’s seat and my favorite pair of jeans were a casualty.  I tossed them in the fabric recycling pile and I did not take that on.

We had the rental car for a mere two days when I noticed a concerning smell as I drove the kids to school.  Apparently, the car needed an oil change.  I sent a notification to work letting them know I would be late.  I read my book in the lobby and I did not take that on.

Now, to be clear, you cannot apply this mind set to all of the obstacles that trip you up, because, as we all know, there are some that will make you fall flat on your face.  Also, people will have different tolerances for “not taking it on”.  Perhaps like, anything else, you build your tolerance level as you practice.  It is magic when applied to those instances where appropriate.  Reminding myself that I’m not going to take this on is my trigger to pause and reflect to check my perspective before reacting.  Personally, I can never have enough of those moments.

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