Sometimes I feel like I’m climbing uphill in an avalanche as I work to make progress and wind up with nothing checked off my to-do list. Today was one of those days. All week I’d been waiting for an item I ordered to arrive in the mail. When it finally came, I opened up the package to find that the wrong item had been shipped. Frustrated at the thought of having to return the unwanted product, I decided to get it over.
“Returns Are Easy!” the invoice assured me in large, bold print. I wasn’t so sure when I logged onto the website to find that, although the main page was working for people who wished to make a purchase, screens for returning an item were suspiciously unavailable.
Determined to accomplish something with my day, I turned off my monitor and headed to the van to run a few errands. While I was out I learned that the office supply store closed ten minutes before I arrived, the second office supply store that I tried did not carry what I needed, and a toy that was on sale at my favorite discount store was nowhere to be found. The afternoon was almost over when I returned home with zero errands checked off my To Do list.
What a mess, I thought to myself as I walked upstairs to hang up a shirt that I had purchased while I was out. As I walked into my closet I was struck by how disorganized it was and decided that, although I had no control over the uncertainty outside my home, I could do something about the chaos within it. The next hour was an organizing blur as I purged unwanted clutter. It felt so good to get rid of outdated items that my bad mood lifted, even though the To-Do list remained.
Just like the clothes in our closets, we choose which thoughts to hang onto. When we focus on the good and forget the bad, we show that our days aren’t determined by what happens around us; they are a product of what goes on within us—and maybe we aren’t having such a bad day after all.