My son loves running around in circles. I mean that literally. He’ll grab a favorite hat or bear and sing and dance while running in circles through the house. As great as he finds it, I personally do not like running around in circles. And yet this is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past three months with my insurance company. Due to an error on their end, my son’s claim did not get processed properly, leaving us to foot the bill. They acknowledge their error, advise us to do XYZ, and then weeks later, say whoops! We were supposed to actually do ABC, and then we run in circles again once more.
It’s not the end of the world. Sure, I’d rather spend the money on a nice outfit and some shoes. Or a lavish meal at a fufu steakhouse. Or fifteen orders of Vietnamese Pho. But at the end of the day, worst case scenario, if we have to pay it, the sky will not collapse upon our heads. It’s just frustrating. Unfairness is frustrating. Being on the phone with a squirmy baby, a hollering toddler belting out twinkle twinkle little star with the intensity paralleled only by a Metallica concert, while getting transferred from department to department until I’m back where I started – I might as well have had a conversation with my bathroom mirror for all the good this did me. Not a fun way to start off my morning.
I know some people are naturally centered and calm in the face of stresses both big and small, but I remain a work-in-progress as my natural inclination is to feel a hard knot of frustration building in my chest that even twenty-five koala bears doing incredibly cute things like chewing bamboo shoots while batting their eyes could not properly diffuse. And the problem with the frustration isn’t the frustrating thing itself, but the domino effect it can have on a day.
Thankfully our predispositions are not our destiny. So after venting to one of my best friends, I put one kiddo into his Ergo and the other in a stroller and we went for a walk, the simplest anxiety reducer known to man. Afterward, with Curious George vacuuming up the belongings of his NYC brethren in the background, I pulled out my moleskine. I wrote out five specific beautiful things in my life. The books towering on the countertop just beyond view. Fragrant chai steeping on the stove. A bowl of crisp apples. The pink, white, and purple flowers a new friend brought by to my house two weeks ago. And my sons. My babbling, singing, screaming, hollering and healthy sons. The reason I’m on the phone with insurance. Phone calls, cries, interruptions, and all, I know someone somewhere is desperately praying for just this. I know because I was once that someone. And when I stood on that side of the shore, this sleep-deprived, screaming hollering reality was the promised land.
And by walking, writing, and taking a few deep breaths, a bad morning that could have tipped into a bad day, and perhaps a bad week was nipped in the bud. I wish I could be an overflowing fountain of inner-peace at all times, but I am thankful that through our actions we can affect our dispositions which can affect the course of our days, which are of course, the building blocks of our life.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau
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Aisha Saeed was born and raised in South Florida. She writes YA and is represented by Taylor Martindale of Full Circle Literary. You can read more of her writing here or follow along on Facebook or Twitter. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons.