Thursday, February 25, 2010

Small Bites of Happiness

My life has been not much short of chaotic lately. Not by my own choosing, but sometimes decisions are made for us, and we just need to follow the path through brush and thorns before we get to the clear road. I have not been able to keep my very organized routine of a life; my mind is in 1000 different places at one time, and I feel like I am spiraling out of control sometimes, trying to follow a hectic schedule and to accomplish 100 things a minute, which is what’s expected of me.

I have no routine for meals, cleaning the house, bill paying and seeing friends anymore … It’s just a rush to the finish line every day.

And some days (most days) some things don’t get done – which makes tomorrow’s “to do” list longer and adds more stress and self criticism on me …

So, because I move mechanically lately, and never think anymore – very unlike me – I have been forgetting the simplest things … For everyone that knows me, it’s common knowledge that I never forget things. I have a dear friend back home who says about me: “you are the kind of person who never loses an umbrella”. I just don’t. I rarely misplace things. I rarely forget to do them at all.

Well, because of the whirlwind I have been thrown in lately, I have been forgetting a lot. A lot more than I forgive myself for. A lot more than I find manageable! I forget everything from putting my watch on in the morning to paying the cell phone bill, or the power bill, from emailing friends to eating dinner … Long, short time memory – doesn’t matter …

It took last night’s happening to jerk me to my core though. It’s a small thing, maybe, for some, but it was huge for me. I went to the grocery store, late, after yet another consecutive, 11 hour work day. Before I was rushing home to house chores at 8 PM, and I checked my purchase out myself, I also drew some cash out of the machine, at the cash register. Only, at the very end, after I picked up my receipt and before rushing out to life again, I forgot to pick up the cash from the machine.

I forgot so “well”, that I didn’t actually remember that I didn’t pick it up till this morning. Looking back on yesterday and trying to think about what I did, I could never remember actually picking up the cash from the “cash dispenser” as the machine calls it. So, I panicked and hated myself for it.

Dubious that Harris Teeter will trust my story, receipt in hand and all, I went back to the store today, to see if I could recoup the money I meant to withdraw. It turns out that a Good Samaritan customer found the money in the dispenser and turned it in to the attendant. Yes, they needed my receipt, and they needed to check the video tape to see if the times concur, but they gave me the money the customer had returned.

They told me also that this is very rare: if the attendants don’t find the cash themselves (in which case they are required my their job to turn it in) and it’s the customers who found the cash, they almost never return it.

It was not a lot of money to some ($40), but you have no idea how grateful I am today for that kind stranger out there, with a clean conscience and a good heart that returned the cash. In the chaos of what it is my life today, this small thing of forgetting my brain one more time would have been enough for me to brood in low self esteem and self-fed-up-ness for another week or so.

In the land of negativity and sometimes hopelessness that I live in lately, there was this beautiful rainbow this morning. Life can and is beautiful, after all. Even by small bites. And this good deed was my reminder. Thank you, kind unknown person: you will never know how much you helped!

And I know to put on the brakes for now, and think twice, hopefully, before I act. Even delayed in my thousands of engagements, taking the time to do them right the first time will work wonders for my sanity. Even through random brushy woods, one must step slowly, carefully and ... mindfully.


Dawn in NC said...

I know that you judge yourself (harshly!) by your own standards, but let me tell you a story that may make you feel a little better.

I did that same walked-away-from-my-cash-back thing once. Only it was a HUNDRED dollars! And in RALEIGH while I was on my way to a camping trip, but I didn't reailize it until I was in Henderson, SIXTY MILES AWAY! It was at least five years ago, and I STILL haven't forgiven myself.

A.W. said...

OMG!!!! I am soooo, sorry, Dawn!
I REALLY am! I would have never forgotten it either ... But then again, we need to remember: it's just money ...As long as we have health and ability to make more - there is always more where that came from ... It still bites, though! :-)
I am sorry!!!

elena said...

HAPPY 8TH OF MARCH !!!! ...from the land of eternal snow ...Lots of love, Leni and Julie