Identify the small stuff …

You’ve heard the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and it is all small stuff.”  I couldn’t disagree more.  Relative to … let’s say, the Holocaust, 9/11 and Darfur, your personal hardships can certainly be considered “small stuff” and perspective is a valuable tool to get you through a particularly bad day (or month or year.)  But, it is unrealistic to always use the “it could be worse” approach to life.  There is some very BIG stuff out there: bills you can’t pay, jobs you can lose, deadlines you can’t possibly meet.  Not to mention being out of wine, serious illness, death of a loved one and not being able to find a babysitter.  The BIG stuff is there and it is real and we all need to find healthy coping skills to deal with it (check in tomorrow for some suggestions.)
It is because of the big stuff, that you cannot afford to get worked up over the small stuff.  Remember it is bad for your health in the short run and in the long run.  It may be impossible to keep your head cool and your blood pressure low when your boss is screaming at you but you should be able to laugh off …

1. The truck driver who cut you off and then flipped you the bird - are you really going to let that guy take even seconds off your life??  Don’t scream or try to rear end his semi with your Volvo.  You want to really ruin his day?  “Smile and wave boys, smile and wave.”  – Madagascar (love those cool penguins)  Seriously, road rage is dangerous in so many ways.  Behave as you would if you didn’t have all that metal and glass to hide behind.

2. Anything that anyone under the age of 10 says or does – they are all crazy

3. Anything that anyone over the age of 75 says or does – they are also all nuts and in my opinion have earned the right to lose it now and then

4. Anything that anyone between those ages thinks about you - My sister (who only sends stuff worth reading) recently forwarded me this excellent list by a man who, oddly, was 90 years old and still spot on (an exception to my rule.)   It is 45 life lessons he has learned along his way.  He wisely advised, “What other people think of you is none of your business.”  Whew, what a relief!  That one sticks with me because while life and jobs and parents and kids are tiring, worrying about what everyone thinks of you is downright exhausting.

5. The five pounds you gained this summer – If you didn’t gain any weight this summer, you didn’t have enough fun.  Sweater season is upon us – thank you God for creating the seasons.

I can obsess and rage with the best of you but I am vowing to stop.  Startinnnnnnnnggggg, NOW.  Join me! Don’t sweat the small stuff because there IS big stuff.  Save your energy for when you will really need it … the holidays are just around the corner.

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