As an exercise, a few months ago, I wrote down a list of all the things that were making me grumpy, and what I could do about them. I know there's rarely only one option in life, but when you're feeling blue, it's really easy to think there's just one choice.
For example, my hair normally doesn't lighten in the summer, or ever, actually, but the California sun is so strong that it is. Lightening, that is. Except, that instead of getting lovely golden highlights like my sister, my hair is fading into this stupid red color. Not strawberry, or dark red, or even arrest-me-red, which would be strange, but at least interesting. No, my hair is dull red. But I have options! I can do nothing (which is what I've thus far chosen to do), I can dye it some other color, I can shave it off, I can get a wig. I'm sure there's some that I'm missing, too. The point, even though I've chosen to do nothing, is that I don't actually have to have stupid red hair because that's what the sun god wants. Oh, I could wear hats, or scarves!
In no particular order or ranking, here are some things that I don't like about my life:
- Feeling rushed in the morning
- The lack of routine in my day
- My parking garage
- Not having a lot of time to spend writing
- Having a huge pile of books (four, actually), next to the bed that I haven't gotten to
- Pumping gas
- The security doors on hour house
I know, some of them are totally ridiculous! I can come up with three ways to not use the parking garage at work, and none of them are particularly useful: if I walk to work, if I get dropped off, or if I park further away. The good news is that I'm not the only one who dislikes the parking garage, and that I have options, and at least my car isn't parked in the sun all day! (As a side update, since the time I wrote this list...not the copy here in the blog, but the actual one, they've opened up the first floor of my parking garage again, and boy, does that one stupid thing brighten my day!)
I've never liked pumping gas. I grew up in New Jersey and then moved to Oregon. That's all I have to say about that.
And security doors are not as easy to take off as you'd think...hello! They're security doors! But, at the same time, Captain America is, well, Captain America...trained in firearms and defensive tactics. I'm pretty sure anyone breaking into our house is going to have their hands full. Besides which, we don't really own anything worth stealing, in my opinion. (As I type this, I'm trying to think of the most expensive thing inside our house, and I'd have to say, it's probably our queen mattress set...yeah, that's a hot item to steal!)
On top of all of this, we have three security doors on our house, but the only one that really drives me bananas is from the house to the garage. Under what circumstances am I going to need a security door inside my house? I'll tell you: the old lady who lived in the house before we bought it would keep the garage door open when she ran her dryer because the dryer vented into the garage. Yeah, we said no to that, and they fixed it to have the dryer vent outside the garage before we signed the papers. So the lady would leave the garage door open to let the heat out and wanted to be safe in her house.
I suppose that's reasonable, but here's why I don't like it: I'm not an old lady, so I frequently walk into the garage and turn the light on at the same time. Or, if I'm just tossing something into the laundry bin I don't turn the light on at all. See, my balance works in the dark. (OK, for those of you who are laughing at this, my balance works just as well with the lights on as it does with them off, and depsite my recent biking debacle, I rarely actually hit-the-ground-fall, I just stumble a lot, but like I said, that's just me...lights or not has nothing to do with it!) But, if the security door, which is black, is partially shut, I don't see it as I walk into the garage, and I walk into it. Which is not painful, but it is annoying. Go figure, I don't like being annoyed.
And furthermore, we have to take this security door off to rip out the moulding so we can put in some sort of fire-safe door, that you really should have between your garage and your house, especially if both your gas-powered dryer and gas-powered water heater are in the garage. We just haven't gotten to that yet.
So now this rant, which was originally about small things that bug me and how I found a semi-cathartic exercise in writing them down and figuring out what I can do about them has turned into a rant about the security door on my garage/house door.
If you're thinking, she has got to find something better to do with her time, well I agree! But then I thought about a quote I read once that said something to the effect that removing petty grievances from one's life does more to boost happiness/well being/whatever than solving big problems. If you've ever been out walking and suddenly discovered that you somehow have a rock in your shoe, you know that removing that rock is way more important than whether or not your shoe is the latest walking shoe or last year's beat up sandals.
So, if you find yourself being constantly annoyed by something that is seemingly petty, first, you're in good company, and second, see if you can figure out some simple solutions to the problem--even if you don't implement any of them, you might feel better knowing you have ways to deal with the situation.