I met a friend for coffee recently. The friend doesn’t live close by and it was a bit of a schlep to get there – but we hadn’t seen each other in a while so it seemed worth it.
I got to the meeting place a little early and sat outside in the sun sipping my drink. There was just a hint of a breeze and the air was mild and pleasant. A text appeared on my phone. “I’m here.” I looked around. I didn’t see her anywhere but maybe she was still parking her car. After a generous 5-minute allotment for garage time I texted back, “Where exactly are you?”
A few, more-detailed, communications revealed that she had gotten confused and was waiting at a different location. She promised to get in her car and be “right over.” But this is Los Angeles and nothing happens that quickly…
My first instinct was to get annoyed. My inner rant began something like this: “My wasted time.” “My valuable time.” “Doesn’t she realize…?” And so on. You know how it goes.
But then I had a realization that stopped me dead in my tracks.
I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately. I’ve been dreaming of some down time, of a vacation. And what was the major component of this fantasy? Leisurely sitting by the water and drinking a cup of coffee – with nowhere to go and nothing to do (sometime it’s good to dream small!).
Although I was missing the water and the rest of my day was packed, I was getting a taste of my desired vacation. I was getting a slow, relaxing moment in the summer sun.
My frustration was replaced with gratitude. The Almighty had given me a gift, a (very) mini-vacation, a little midday non-pharmaceutical pick-me-up.
When my friend actually arrived I was almost sorry. I was glad to see her but I was really enjoying that quiet time.
I was also gratified that I had taken a potentially frustrating situation and reframed it into a positive one. And surprisingly, it was actually pretty easy to do. Now that I see that my attitude can be changed with relatively little effort, I hope I will be able to do it in more complicated situations as well.
This time I was able to be the beneficiary of my friend’s forgetfulness, instead of the victim. All it took was a new perspective.