Why Am I Surprised? By Lois Hewitt

Before I begin, this is not a post fishing for a compliment or to say how great I am.  That’s not what I want this to be about.  This year on the train has been so different from last year.  I cannot pinpoint what made the change, just that it did happen.  Rudeness from customers is now the new norm.  Complaining is the new point of conversation.  The temperature is never right, the food isn’t up to par, the seats are too hard, the service isn’t fast enough, the trip is too long or too short, the line to the restroom is too long, and the weather isn’t good enough,  just to name a few complaints. 

I try to tell about local history and I can barely get their attention as they continue to talk over me.  Today, I stopped mid-sentence and walked off, I doubt anyone even noticed.  I explain that I go to each table over and over so that I can make sure that no customer is missed or ignored. I try to treat all 44 of my customers the same.  Well apparently, some people are more important than others because they will do anything to get their request filled immediately.  When I say that I’m on my way and will be there as fast as I can, they act like I kicked a puppy. There goes another tip down the drain.  

Seems no one has any tolerance for even the slightest discomfort. There is definitely no tolerance for being inconvenienced even if you are assisting another customer. So the rudeness isn’t just directed at me, it’s aimed at all people everywhere.  This morning it was chilly outside. We always board people who need a little extra time or need assistance first.  Today I asked if anyone needed assistance and everyone in line came up.  I doubt that the entire car was not in need of assistance,  their personal needs came before people who truly needed help.

Today I sit here defeated, wondering where society is headed.  Where are manners and basic respect? It’s so sad that when you meet someone who is considerate, you can’t believe it.  It has become such a rarity in our society.  Today I am very sad for the people of the world for they obviously do not see things from the same perspective that I do.  Tolerance, love and compassion are all traits I am trying to cultivate in myself, but you can only be totally ignored or cast aside so many times until you give up. I’m on the verge of giving up.

If entitlement and disregard for other people become the norm, I don’t want to live here any longer.  I am thinking about becoming a hermit. Except that isn’t a high paying profession!  I feel hurt and discouraged.  I feel sad and disappointed.  I realize that no place is idealistic but it’s not so much about a certain place, it’s about human response to other humans. 

I will keep trying because that’s what I do.  Occasionally you have that perfect day that plays out beautifully. You feel love and give it freely.  Those days are few and far between but they seem to keep us all going, moving forward.  I wish those times where the norm, but that’s probably too much to ask for. As long as entitlements and greed have a stronghold on people it will only get worse. 

Maybe I’ll start looking for a cave to live in since deserted islands are usually too expensive.


That Which Makes us Stronger by Lois Hewitt

I can admit it now.  As a child and a young somewhat-adult I was weak.  Ever afraid to have someone not like me, ever afraid of not being nice.  That behavior made me weak and it allowed me to get into situations that were not healthy for me.  It also caused an unpredictable, terrifying rage to live inside of me.  Now I’m not talking about trying to be a good person or having manners.  I’m talking about being afraid to say no to harmful situations, about doing whatever to have someone like me.  The horrific thing about that is I was usually trying to make someone I would never have liked in the first place like me. I could not bear to not be liked. My self-esteem was that low.

I spent many years vacillating between rage and guilt.  I was mad these situations happened, then I thought it was all my fault.  That’s when I started dealing with anxiety and depression.  I allowed those bad situations to dictate my life years and years after they occurred.  I chose to wear those situations and my weakness as a badge. Look at me and how pathetic I am.  Looking back on myself all I see is complete and utter weakness.

In retrospect, I can honestly say that now I can be liked or not.  I can live with either.  I can now venture into a situation and not just say no, but say no F*ing way.  I have learned through this amazing and terrifying journey that those negative experiences truly have made me a much stronger person today.  I still have moments where I think for a second about not being liked, then it goes away and I take control.  I never want to be weak again, I want to fight back when necessary.  I don’t want to tolerate bad behavior just because it is the nice thing to do.  

You can be a nice person and still be strong.  You just have to be able to stand up for yourself or someone who cannot do it themselves.  You can be kind and strong at the same time.  If you don’t have the kindness part of the equation, you can run the risk of being a bully.  You need both components.  You can remember those past hurts and use them to keep you strong.  I used to hate those times when I was unable to stand up for myself, now I look at them as my training ground for who I am today.  Without them, I would not be as empowered as I am right now.

To all the people who took advantage willingly or unknowingly, thank you.  Once I got my head out of my nether regions, I saw my own inner strength come out.  The self-pity and even the unpredictable rage went away.  I still get angry at times but it is over a current situation not one from 40 years ago. There is a huge difference.  

I have decided to learn from the past instead of reliving and reliving it. I have decided to forgive them (however not forget) and to forgive myself.  I did not have the tools then that I have now.  Ironically, the tools I have now came from those experiences.  I feel so much healthier now that I let up on the grip those circumstances held over me.  I feel a new kind of freedom…and it feels good!

If Only….by Lois Hewitt

Not sure who wrote this. Sorry for the profanity.

If only I could pay off my bills, then I would be happy.  If only I could lose this excess weight, then I would be happy. If only I was prettier or smarter or more of something else, then I would be happy. These are lies I have been telling myself my entire adult life. Basically I was saying that I was unhappy because of one or more things in my life were missing and once I found those things than I would finally be happy.

I have been on this self-awareness journey for a very long time and I just figured this out.  Last night it hit me. I was laying awake trying to sleep and my mind just kept going in circles. I was thinking about what it would be like if I could lose about 30 pounds, cut my hair short (and miraculously have it be thicker too), start wearing some cool glasses and have a new sense of how to dress.  I thought as I fell asleep that those things would make me happy.  

Then I woke up as me; still chunky, gray haired with the same two outfits I had yesterday.  My mind wishes I was prettier and smarter, but my reality is simply what I am. That’s not to say I can’t try to improve myself, but the groundwork is laid and a beauty I’ll never be.  That’s ok.  Once I can finally accept my weight, my looks and my IQ, that’s when I think I will finally be happy. 

I gave up reading magazines and watching lots of tv years ago.  I found the constant bombardment of beauty products, clothing ads and other such nonsense made me feel less of a person.  So I did my own little boycott of those things thinking I would come to finally accept myself.  I thought I had but it turns out that I was wrong yet again. Those images still plagued me without even knowing it.

We, as humans, have been given the amazing ability to change ourselves for the better.  But short of plastic surgery and a wig, my looks are my looks. I can always learn new things, but I’m never going to be a Mensa.  And my fashion sense has always been and always will be a lost cause. Guess what?  That’s ok because those things along with my experiences have made me who I am today.

So no more wishing I was gorgeous or brilliant or even talented.  I will continue to try to improve myself but no more “if only” in my life. That seems like such an obvious lesson, yet it’s not one I easily learned.  So world here I am with all my flaws.  Now I get what Popeye was saying. I am what I am!

What The Heck Was I Thinking…….by Lois Hewitt

So the day before yesterday, I had to learn to drive a stick shift.  At 55, I’m just now learning to do that.  Am I crazy?  I live in the mountains this is not where you want to learn this particular skill.  I’m also working a job really catered for younger or, at least, more fit people than myself.  I just bought a guitar and am trying to learn to play it.  

What the heck am I thinking?  When I was younger, I assumed that when I was 55 years old I would be planning to retire, sitting on the porch knitting, and generally starting to slow down. Well, that is not the case in the least.  Almost everything in my life is new: new state, new job, new surroundings, and an entirely new way of living.  There is no time, or money, to retire.  No time to knit and definitely no time to slow down.  What wrong turn did I make in life to get here?

I was thinking about it hard the last few days. I was feeling like I really messed my life up. I have spoken about this before. Starting a completely new life with almost no belongings in a completely new place was starting to seem less courageous and more plain stupid.  Am I too old to keep learning new things?  Some days I barely have enough energy to walk from the couch to the shower. 

Then I realized that I’m the kind of person, if not pushed or slightly prodded, that I would sit down and not get up.  For many years I dreamed of these changes but was paralyzed with fear of change.  It took something drastic to make me move. Now here I am, moving onward and upward. So instead of feeling like I took a wrong turn, I’m going to start thinking of it as finally making the right turn.  Although I have days I want desperately to just sit down, I’m not really ready to just sit down. I need to continue to push myself and learn things. It’s good for the body, the mind and the soul.

So even when I’m tired and don’t think I can go on, I will know in my heart there is joy in the pushing of oneself.  It means you are alive. And it means there is purpose in life. Who knows what other life skills I am about to learn, but for now I’m open to the possibilities and age has no bearing….well, ok, I’m not going to sign up for gymnastics or anything like that. Stuff within reason and somewhat age appropriate.  

I am learning there is a special kind of joy when you learn something you never thought you could do.  Today I got the all the way into fourth gear. I was ecstatic.  And I got home in one piece, even better!  I look forward to learning new lessons. 

Now if I could only figure out chords on the guitar…..

Can’t We All Just Get Along? by Lois Hewitt

I’m the very first person to admit this…I’m not always easy to get along with.  I am a stickler for structure and order.  What I perceive to be chaos, which can be normal for someone else, overwhelms me.  I like to do things a certain way. That’s not to say that I can’t change, it’s just a slower process for me.  I do not try to be difficult….it just happens.

I try to be, and want to be, all chill and easygoing.  I have had a reputation in the past for being a little intense at times.  I have been known to get really mad here and there. If I get pushed, I tend to push back.  I feel strongly about some things and won’t budge on them.  None of these qualities are any that I’m necessarily proud of.  

I look around my little piece of the planet and I think of the strife I create.  I really don’t mean to do it.   It is no wonder on a global scale that we can’t all get along.  No one wants to be wrong.  Opinions are as different and varied as the stars in the night sky.  It is so easy to think that yours is the right one.  Admitting yours may be flawed is a very hard thing to do.

I have started burying my head in the sand when it comes to some of the global issues we are all facing in this day and age.  The fact that there is so much hate in the world because of differences in opinions causes me much anxiety. The fact that we as human beings can hate entire groups of people, and have them hate us back, because of skin color, religious beliefs or any other myriad of differences cuts me to the core.  I hate the diversions, yet I’m not always flexible either.

So how do we start to get along?  I’ve always believed that it really starts at home, then it can radiate outward more globally.  But it’s not always easy to understand another human even those closest to us.  Each of us have our own unique experiences that set us up to think a certain way.  We all carry scars, visible and invisible, on our bodies and in our souls from hurts and injustices aimed at us.  These things veil our thought to a certain mindset, one that is often difficult to overcome.

I am in constant study of how to become a better person. I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Yet I cannot always see the other side because I’m so busy looking at my side. The climate of hate today seems to create an atmosphere where we all, myself included, feel the absolute need to defend ourselves.  I find myself trying to explain my actions and the reasons for them.  We all get defensive rather quickly because it is easy to feel like you are getting attacked.

I figured out, for myself, that when I feel I am being attacked and I get so defensive that I cannot see anything else except my side.  My ability to, at least, consider the other side completely flies out the window.  I cannot possibly see your side when I have to guard myself from your attack.  Any hope for resolution is lost.  

How do I become less defensive?  I honestly do not know the answer to that question.  I’m like a wild animal at times, I will “bite”first, then think about the situation.  I think many of us are like that.  We just want to protect our little corner of the world.  But sometimes that closes our eyes to the other side of the story.  

Maybe if I stop perceiving an attack where there isn’t one, I may be able to bypass the defensive mode and actually have a real dialogue rather than a heated discussion of my intentions versus yours.  Maybe if I don’t automatically feel backed into a corner, I may have room to see the other side. Jesus spoke to many different kinds of people during His time on the Earth.  He listened, didn’t necessarily change His opinion, but heard the other person out.  He talked to them with compassion and understanding. He knew His moral compass.  Even when He was being attacked, He pleaded for mercy on those people.  

I cannot seem to be like that but I certainly can strive for it.  I will never be that understanding but I can try harder.  No more defensive behavior for me. I want my eyes open to see the other side. I may or may not change my opinion but I’m going to trust my moral compass more than my emotional compass and see if that doesn’t change things, even a little bit, for the better.  

Train, Train 

Some people love trains because of their amazing mechanics or the fact that these behemoths gracefully move down two thin rails.  Trains can move people as well as freight.  You can ride in  ultimate luxury or with basic surroundings.  You can feel the warm breeze on your face in an open air car drinking an iced tea or the sipping a mimosa in the cool air of a climate-controlled coach.  You can go somewhere new or no where at all.  

I love trains for all those things and more.  The ride, at least, on my train is slow.  You have a chance to actually catch your breath and enjoy the scenery. There is no wifi so the only connections you make are with other human beings.  The ride is like a huge rocking chair gently swaying back and forth to the rhythm of the wheels.  

You can drive to the same places we go but on a train you do not have to contend with traffic.  You actually get to enjoy the sights at 19 miles an hour instead of 50.  Many folks do not care for the slower pace.  Let’s face it, there are always a million things to be done at any given point in time.  Riding a slow train through the woods seems like a huge waste of time.

 But it’s not.  I don’t believe it’s healthy to be constantly on the run.  Down time is something no one has time for anymore. Your soul suffers without a respite. Your body becomes stressed and learns to stay that way.  I know from experience what it feels like to be in fight or flight mode all the time. Rest becomes a memory. Always feeling your heart beating out of your chest is the norm.  Joy is gone.  

There is no way a train ride will answer all of life’s problems, but what if you had a chance to become reacquainted with yourself again.  What if you had the chance to actually relax without anything you had to do.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I’m not trying to do a commercial for my train or any other.  I have come to learn the value of finding that thing you love to do and gaining the benefits from that.

I work on a train. It is, by far, the most physically demanding job I have ever had and ever loved. I can have just a horrible day at work and wake up the next day excited to go to my office, a train car.  It’s an unexplainable feeling.  For someone like me who wants to keep moving, it is perfect.  

The best part are train people.  I have met the most wonderful and giving people on this train from my co-workers to the passengers. The train is what brings us all together and it’s the train that makes us feel alive. It’s more than an engine and metal. It’s a daily journey that is ever changing.  It can make you happy, make you laugh and, at times, make you cry. Riding the rails has healed me deep into my soul. And the people I have met have touched my heart. 

I am forever changed.

A Tale of Like by Lois Hewitt

Our story is not an epic one.  We were young and ill-prepared for marriage. We toughed it our six years before throwing in the towel.  I was a mess as a teenager, crazed like a feral cat.  I wanted to calm down but did not know how.  Then one day at the bar I met him.  A few years older, not much though but stable.  We started talking and drinking, he eventually asked fir my number with no other intents for that evening.  

We actually went on a few dates.  It was fun and he was always the gentleman.  We laughed at each other and the feeling was very comfortable. Not long after that, we talked about getting married.  Neither of us knew what it would entail but we were heavy into like and probably a little bit of love too.  So we picked a day and got married at the local courthouse.

Marriage to us, at the time, meant that we could make out anytime, eat Oreos for dinner and buy stuff.  It was all light and breezy until the talk turned to children.  We both thought children would be a cool idea, besides our friends were starting families. So we tried, tried some more and tried again to no avail.  People we knew were pregnant almost the moment they thought about it but we had no such luck.  

The weeks turned to months and the months turned to years and still no child.  The lightness had left the marriage. Behind it was depression and what I thought was my own madness.  Due to my inability to control this situation I started to exhibit OCD tendencies.  I already had them, but the stress of infertility made them surface wholesale.  I started losing my grip on reality and he started to drink even more. He never drank at home only at the bar. 

He loved it when people found out he was married.  They never would have guessed it, they would say.  This was his way of having his cake and eating it too.  More years past as we languished in the infertility wasteland.  The love seemed to fall away.  We still liked each other but it became clear to me that might not be enough to keep the marriage alive.

We tried a weekend getaway to see if it could be salvaged and we both knew the end was approaching.  We talked about divorce and he moved out.  I proceeded to get the paperwork drawn up.  I wanted nothing from him and he nothing from me.  I cried for the loss as well as the failure. I liked him and he liked me but that was not enough to fill the cup of marriage.

We both went our separate ways. Certain songs made me think back in time. I would see him around town and we would speak.  Genuinely concerned how the other one was. I remarried, he did not. Apparently he wasn’t alone too much, and that was good.  I don’t think he was cut out to be married and that’s ok too.

So I start a new life in a new place and I get a message in Facebook that he has passed away.  I rush to the phone to call the person who sent me the note.  We talk at length about what happened and how he passed away.  I sat there alone crying uncontrollably.   My marriage is great and strong, we conquered the “dark years” and came through the other side. No. I do not cry for any regrets, or any misgivings.  I cry because he was a good and decent person who suffered. My heart breaks not for missed love but because he passed away so young. 

I remember the laughs, the late nights, forgotten are the childless years for they do not matter now.  I remember his smile and always the kind word. I am imagine I drive him crazy with my bad temper and mood swings. He never let on to me though. He seemed content those few years so much time ago.  I hope for a brief time he found some happiness with me and longer spans of happiness after me.

I’m sorry our love story was not an epic one. I’m sorry our love was not the kind to last through time.  You deserved better than that. I’m sorry you left your family and friends so young.  But thank you for taking the time to give it a try.  Thank you for honesty caring and for trying to understand those things about me I did not even understand. You were a good and kind man. The world is better for your time in it. Rest well now with no more pain. 

Good night, dear Pete, good night.

Time to Give Thanks by Lois Hewitt

This is me enjoying the Carolina sunlight and all of my many blessings!

My story usually revolves around what is wrong with me or what is wrong with the world around me.  As I sit here today, my heart is still broken from the never ending conflicts, the natural and man made disasters and all the turmoil.  Well, for me, for today, I’m going to be thankful.

I’m thankful today for:

— A clean, safe and lovely place to live and a truly amazing landlady.🏡

—  Food enough to eat to stay nourished and for a few treats.  Fresh water to drink.  Always thanks for a good hamburger!🍔

—  Clothes to keep me warm and comfortable.  And having learned to live with the minimal amount needed has relieved much daily stress.👖

—  A wonderful vehicle that has transported me to mountains, to oceans, to deserts and to the road of real freedom. Love you Devi!🚗

—  Good books.  Much of what I have learned in life is from reading. Not everyone one can or has the freedom to read.  I’m extremely grateful.📖

— Good music.  Music has always been a constant companion assisted me through the lonely nights and days and celebrated the most awesome of times! 🎼

— For learning the importance of giving up possessions and their hold on me. For giving up the need to always have the newest stuff.  Stuff was drowning me, not any longer….best lesson ever learned! Losing everything gave me everything I ever wanted!🗑

— For work and or purpose.  I used to hate work, thinking I was missing out on something else.  Now I know without the right work and purpose life is meaningless. I need the structure and the accomplishment that work brings.  If I did not have that, I would have no reason to get out of bed. 🛏

— For Christmas lights.  They give me a sense of wonder no matter what time of year.🎄

— Fot one good purse.  Got to have one!👛

— For finding the train.  The train I work on has changed my life. It is hard to believe that I used to be afraid to speak in public.  Now I do it daily as I ride a slow train through the amazing Nantahala Gorge!  It has changed my whole perspective.🚂

— For my belief in God.  I sometimes question my faith, sometimes I turn my back on it outwardly but I always have it inside of me.  Without it I would have perished many years ago from bad decisions.  One of my most prized possessions is my worn Bible. It has carried me through the darkness so many times.  I am eternally grateful for Mr. Fredrickson for showing me that light when I was 16 years old.  It forever changed me✝️

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. No matter what, there really is always something to be thankful for.  My biggest Thanksgiving goes out to my family and friends.  I have so many people who care for me, I honestly do not know how I got so blessed.  I’m thankful I learned how important it is to have other people in your life.  Every one in my life has touched my heart and my soul.  My life has been transformed by the people in my life. I am truly and utterly blessed beyond all comprehension.

So for today I give thanks and bask in the glow of all my many blessings!

To Care or Not To Care

Let me preface this blog by saying I have a fever and it might have fueled this rant. From my 20s to my 30s, I cared about everything.  I cared what people thought of me.  I cared about what I looked like.  I cared about my makeup and my clothes.  I cared about what kind of car I drove and how my house was decorated.  I cared about what books were on my bookshelf and what music I listened to.  I cared about the environment to the point of depression.  I cared about getting sick.  I cared about how the events of the day would effect me.  In all truthfulness, as I look back, it was all about me and how I felt.  Not really the definition of caring.
Then my 40s came, and I was tired of caring about most things.  No longer did I care what people thought of me.  I only cared about running away whether only in my mind or for a day.  I stayed the course and worked while I earned my degree, stayed responsible.  But I found inside I cared about very little.  I was profoundly sad all the time and probably drinking too much.  I didn’t care what happened because all I wanted was a different life and I became resigned to the fact that would not happen.  

I would wake up in the morning disappointed that I had woke up.  I was that empty inside.  Every day was a chore to get through and at the end of it my reward was NyQuil and dreams of the road. I stopped caring about all the things in my life and started down a minimalist path.  I lost the ability to find joy, although I have doubts that I ever really experienced true joy.

Clinical depression was talked about like it is today. I just thought I was going slowly insane.  
Then I turned 50.  Nothing changed for a while, but then everything changed.  I felt like I was drowning everyday. Then one day I wrote a note to my boss explaining why I had to resign. My reasoning wasn’t all that clear, but I knew I had to go.   She stood behind me as my crazy ideas unfolded. That is how the epic journey was born.  I got rid of almost all my belongings and felt nothing. I did not care except for a few things and many of those things have since found a new home with someone else.  As I hit the road, I still felt nothing. I tried but it was all too overwhelming. I was sure the Pacific Ocean was going to heal me. When I got there, nothing.  Nothing changed and I could not have cared less that I was there. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. 

Then I started meeting fellow wanderers and people on the fringe, for lack of a better word.  I started talking to other people and listening to their stories. I was moved by them.  I started to care again.

On this epic journey, I have met some amazing people. They have changed me as have the places I have been. I do care again but about different things. I don’t care what color your skin is or what religion you are. I don’t care where you have been only where you are now.  I don’t care how much money you make or don’t make. Car? Who cares? Home furnishings? Who cares?  I know there is a class structure in this country but I don’t care. The only thing that matters, that I care about, is how human you are. I use the same criteria for myself.  I have often said in this blog we, as a society, are losing our humanity.  We just don’t care anymore. 

Caring hurts, but so does being dead inside.  Caring takes time and time is harder to give than even money. Caring is about someone else, not just you.  All the turmoil and separation going on in this country scares me.  The person who does something caring is news because it doesn’t happen all the time. I want to relearn the meaning of caring and start living it for real.  I want others to start caring again. It is so much easier to live within the walls we construct for ourselves but it is empty. I’m tired again but this time I don’t want to give up. I want to care again. We will see how that goes…

Well, That Didn’t Go As Planned

My new philosophy in life is to be calmer and more mindful. Last weekend was a very busy weekend at work. I thought it would be a great time to test the waters of my new internal calmness. I realize it is easy to be calm and thoughtful when you are in a calm and thoughtful place, but really putting the concept to the test seemed like a great idea. That is why I picked last weekend to jump into the fire, so to speak.

I started the day by having everything ready for work; my uniform was ready, lunch was packed, etc.  I got to work a few minutes early which was good.  I collected my money bag, keys and other items I would need for the upcoming 12 hour day.  I got to my train car and proceeded to get it organized the way I like, made sure I had enough supplies for two runs and started my evening paperwork so it would be done in a timely fashion at the end of the day.  I was feeling good about myself.

I was told that I would have help boarding passengers and that I would have time to start getting beverages early which is essential when you are the one server on a car with up to 44 passengers.  Efficiency and order are the rules of the day.  When doing a double run, it is absolutely imperative!  I was relieved from boarding and I was able to give the morning announcements earlier than usual. My new plan was working perfectly.  I was just getting ready to start my first beverage service when a co-worker asked for help.  I jumped in and helped, when I got back to my car the train was moving.  That meant that i was suddenly already behind. The ideal situation is to have the first beverage service done before the train moves. I wondered how I got behind all ready.

So I rushed as fast as I could to catch up, and was starting to feel upset and frustrated. How could I have done all this planning and still be behind?  I continued doing my tasks at a pace as fast as I could. I figured I would be friendlier after I got caught up.  Then the power went out in my car, which has never happened before.  I had visitors in the car entertaining so I could not continue my tasks until they were done.  I finally was able to start bar service, much later than normal.  So I quickly ran to my server station made four cocktails and poured four glasses of wine.  I picked up the tray like I have done hundreds of times before, took a few steps past the first few tables, lost my balance and proceeded to spill all the drinks down the front of my uniform, the uniform I still had to wear for 11 more hours.

I was devastated as this has never happened before.  Next thing I know I am down on all fours trying to clean up the absolutely huge mess I made while realizing that now I was even more behind and was worried about my customers becoming upset.  By this time, I still have a few tears running down my cheeks, I have several alcohol and wines dripping from my sarturated vest, and now lunch is being served without many of the customers lunch bar requests. I stood for a moment contemplating my next move.  Do I simply throw in the towel realizing that no matter what I do nothing will ever go right? Or do I calm myself, talk to the customers and keep going?

My mind came up with a plan way before I realized what was happening.  I explained to my customers what happened, made a few self-deprecating jokes, aplologized profusely and started the day all over again.  I proceeded to still have things go wrong:coffee stations just stopped working, my normal schedule was thrown off because of the second run, and other small crises.  The day finally ended, most of my customers seemed to have a good day regardless of all the many things that went wrong.

After I got home, I was finally able to wash off all the stickiness from the mornings beverage spill.  My uniform was in the washing machine also getting cleaned and I realized something.  That morning I had expected everything to proceed smoothly because I had done a lot of preparation. But all the preparation in the world cannot take into account all the unknown variables that can happen on any given day.  My focus was completely incorrect. 

I should never have expected the day to be perfect.  What I needed to focus on, and eventually did, was how I would calmly and thoughtfully deal with all the mistakes, mishaps and unexpected events that happened. I realized the old me would have thrown a tantrum and gotten really angry. But I didn’t, I had a moment of that thinking, then gave into the situation. We all laughed a lot that day.  I felt like my customers and I were in this together and it seemed like we had all connected on some level.

Even though so many things went wrong that day, so many things were right.  My attitude was severely tested and for once I feel like I actually passed the test. Maybe I am starting to change on a deeper level.  I am well aware that I cannot go on living and stressing every little thing. I have tried to let go of things in the past with very little success. Maybe I am finally learning to let go and to let God.  I hope that is true. I’m so very tired of trying to control all the things in my life. It is absolutely impossible, so I have to let go in order to live a calmer and more thoughtful life. 

Wow, what a day and what an amazing lesson learned!