Don’t Sweat the Little Things

Every morning, I wake up at 5:30 to get ready and make it to the train station for 6:30. I sit on the crowded train for an hour and forty five minutes, and then I walk five more minutes to work. Sometimes, I find myself cursing my morning commute the entire ride to Boston. Why do I have to live so far away? Why should I have to pay $23 to get to work and back everyday? Why does my employer only reimburse me for less than 10% of what I pay to get there? And you know what I’ve found by repeatedly asking myself these questions? Nothing. The only thing that cursing my morning commute brings me is negative energy to start my day. 

Now, every time I bring up the subject of negativity, the same story comes to mind. I must have told it one hundred times. When I was three years old, I was throwing a tantrum about not wanting to be dropped off at preschool for the day. My mom looked at me and told me this:

It is up to you whether or not you want to have a good day. If you decide to have a good day, then you will have one!

This is my earliest memory from my childhood, likely because it was such an important piece of advice. I’ve always tried to remind myself of this when I’m feeling down, but it’s hard when your mind is made up about being in a bad mood.

Yesterday on my way to work, I was extremely frustrated about commuting. I didn’t start until 10 o’clock that morning, but I still had to get up at 7:00 in order to make it to work on time. Because it was the Monday after my vacation, I was feeling some serious Monday blues on top of my commuting struggle. I found it so difficult to just decide to be in a good mood.

Turning your attitude around is not an easy task. Even the littlest things, like being squished on the train or forgetting your work badge, can be earth-shattering if you allow them to be. Frankly, sometimes (like yesterday) I’ve chosen to have a bad day because I didn’t have the energy to turn my day into a good one. I woke up with a bad attitude, and I let it stick with me all day. I didn’t talk to anyone at work, I didn’t go outside for lunch, and I didn’t even stop to talk with my favorite homeless man, Joe. (Side note: if you know me, you know how much I love to talk with the homeless, so this was some prime evidence of how my day was going yesterday).

When I got home, all I wanted to do was lay down and shut my eyes and accept that my bad attitude had defeated me for the day. But I didn’t. I decided that I had had enough.

Last Summer, I worked in a basement (yes, a literal basement – complete with rats and cockroaches) removing staples from files for forty-five hours every week. And yes, it was as horrible as it sounds. But, I knew I needed that internship, and I had never quit a job in my life, so I stuck with it. Every morning, I would cry on my way to work because I hated it so much. I would count down the minutes starting from the second I got to work. By the middle of the Summer, it got to a point where I didn’t even want to do anything after work or on the weekends because I was so drained from having such a negative attitude everyday. I could not find the good in anything for the life of me. I started to give myself a present after work each day (just something small, like a fashion magazine or a new notebook) to try and give myself something to look forward to. I was miserable.

Fall came very slowly, but when it did, I had found myself a new job working as a legal secretary at a company that I love, where I now sit at a huge mahogany desk and make almost double what I made at my last firm. Something good finally came out of my Summer spent in the basement.

So, yesterday night, when I was starting to feel the way I felt last year, I immediately snapped out of it. I like my job. I like my financial freedom. Some people don’t have jobs. I work in a beautiful city. I chose to get rid of my bad attitude, even though it took me all day.

I hope that the next time you’re in a bad mood, and you’re feeling like nothing is going your way, that you’re able to find good in something. I understand how difficult it is to find a way to be positive, and maybe it’ll take you a little while to get there, but you will.

Today, I’m deciding to have a good day. You should, too.

UPDATE: This morning, an attorney walked up to me and said, “hey, that’s much better!” When I asked what he was talking about, he said, “you’ve been walking around here with a frown on your face the past two days, so it’s much better to see you smiling today.” I responded with, “I decided to have a better day today.” Of course, he has no idea about anything I wrote in this post, so it was very eye-opening to see that I’m not the only one paying attention to my own attitude change. I had never realized that it could be so noticeable to others as well. This is just another reason to find a way to stay positive – you aren’t only bringing yourself down when you’re in a bad mood, but you’re bringing your environment down with you. Smile today, it’ll help both you and those around you.


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