Have a nice day

This morning I phoned my son to ask him to hang up the washing and vacuum the carpets. The response? "You're ruining my day!"

I don't think so...! And why?

Well not because it's simply expected of him to comply. But rather because it's not up to me how well or how badly his day goes.

It's all up to him and what's in his head. Let me explain.

Let's say my boss comes in to work one morning haven gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Since those early morning hours she's faced life with a "woe is me" attitude. Everything's going wrong, nothing's going right, and she morosely insists that she's having a bad day. Everything that happens is coloured by that belief - that her day is terrible. And thus it ends up to be! There's no chance of redemption!

Preaching to the choir here, been there, done that - kinda determined it's not a good idea.

Now let's say she decides that all these little issues and irritations are simply one-offs. They're not inter-connected, they're not going to form part of a "bad day". Even if disaster strikes, it's not going to sour her outlook. She'll merely deal with it as an individual experience and move on, determined to have a good day.

In fact, no-one can ruin her day. If her day is ruined, it's solely because she chose to see it as such.

The thing is this - life is never certain. What you plan is not necessarily going to happen, as much as you'd like it to. And me, I'm the eternal optimist. I believe in the journey - in taking every experience a set number of hours throws your way and calling it part of life. Stuff that makes life less mundane and grows you as a person.

Perhaps it's a challenge posing as an insurmountable problem - but getting past it is going to make me stronger and richer. Perhaps it's a minor irritation - where I have to put aside my plans in order to cater for others' plans, or get handed a job I didn't time-budget for. Hell, it may even be Olivia suddenly dying on the way to work (as has happened). Yes, that could ruin my day - but only if I let it. Would be a lot easier to see it as one big adventure.

In a similar vein - if others choose to have a bad day (like my son, for instance), it doesn't mean their bad day has to become mine. Nor am I in any way responsible for being the one who can make or break their day-view. As someone who doesn't like conflict, it's often hard for me not to take that kind of thing on and try make it all better... but it's really not my responsibility, nor can I actually make a difference unless the other person chooses for me to. I certainly shouldn't be adopting bad day storms as my own and letting them cloud over my own!

Granted, sharing an office with a colleague who growls like a bear with a sore butt may be less than pleasant. Stuck at a desk with a nearby thunderstorm for 8 hours straight may not be anyone's idea of fun. But still - it doesn't have to ruin your day.

And nor does having to hang up the washing or vacuum the carpets.

Now if only I could drum that into my son's head ... :-)