Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Deal With Tough Situations Without Really Trying

I haven't had an advice series with that sort of title in so long on this blog. Flashback to those posts from freshmen year! Tough situations are all around and generally, they're unavoidable. And as easy as it is to play into it, to moan and groan how "woe is me," I find that it's better to learn how to make the best out of it.

Double story time: Before I left for a long weekend, I was taking my normal route to work. It was a Monday, I wasn't feeling particularly great about being awake, but at the same time I was definitely looking forward to going to work that day. It was a bit chilly outside and it had just snowed a day or two before, but it was sunny and that was enough for me. I got halfway through my drive before my check engine light started to blink and beep. I know nothing about cars, absolutely nothing. The only thing I know how to do to my car is put gas in. I can't change a tire, I can't open the hood, nada, nothing.

Knowing enough, I pulled over to the shoulder and parked with my flashers on. Long story short, I called my parents back in New York, let my boss know I wasn't going to be able to make it, and waited about an hour and a half for a tow truck. In the meantime, a cute cop came by to make sure I was all right (it's his job, but still) and a very nice man from State Farm Safety Patrol (again, his job)  put out cones and waited behind me with his lights on because I was on the shoulder on the highway. My car needed about three things on it fixed, as it turned out.

For the first time in about twenty years of living, my first reaction wasn't to cry. I don't know how it happened, but I didn't shed one tear. I didn't yell, I didn't get stressed, I just accepted the fact that that was something that happened to me. I sat on the side of the road, had a dance party in the sunshine (in my car, of course), and felt lucky enough that my car wasn't externally damaged and that I wasn't missing anything that couldn't be put off. It could've been so much worse! I could've been driving to work on Friday and then I wouldn't have gotten my car fixed in time to leave Saturday afternoon to come back home. Or even worse! It could have happened Saturday on my drive back to New York! I wouldn't have been near my apartment or downtown and it would've been dark!

Was having to get my car fixed ideal? Of course not. Was missing two potential days of work ideal? No, not in the slightest. But what else was I supposed to do? I wasn't hurt, I wasn't missing class or a mega-important event, I was all right.

All of my stories might be car-related because there's just something so stressful about cars. I think it mostly has to do with my novice (at best) experience with them. I don't know anything about them and I am a mediocre driver, at best. I don't weave in and out of lanes, I use my turn signals, haven't gotten any tickets and all of that jazz, but I just am not a good driver. So when you factor snow into the equation...it's a mess. I'm a nervous snow driver. My car is apparently great in snow, I am just terrible in it.

I try to avoid snow driving at all costs. So when I was driving back to Ohio last Monday, you can guess how stoked I was to run into a white out snow storm throughout the entire duration of Pennsylvania and my drive through Ohio until it cleared about twenty-five minutes outside of downtown. I was thrilled, as you can imagine. Not only was I driving on poorly plowed highways, but I also couldn't see anything in front, behind, or off to the sides of me! It was really, really lovely!

I could've cried. In fact, I wanted to cry. I might have gotten a bit bitter when letting my parents know because they (see: DAD) told me that the weather would be clear. I'd hardly call that clear, but guess what? I'm alive. I took it like a champ. I sat up straight, didn't mess around with my music for two hours and got through it without shedding a tear. Sure, it took a whole lot of heavy breathing but the more I freaked out about it, the worse my chances of getting through without doing something stupid got.

Moral of the story? As hard as it might be, stay positive. Breathe through it. They're only the worst situations if you let them be. Generally, I find that there's always a way to come above and beyond.

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