I got a letter from the gas company today, threatening to turn our gas off if we didn’t contact them immediately to schedule a safety inspection for our gas meter. I had already scheduled the inspection and it was completed three days ago. According to the inspector, our meter passed. I don’t know if the inspector failed to turn his report in, or if the gas company sent the letter before he did so, but the upshot was that I called the gas company’s customer service department and was on hold for a long time before getting a recording saying, “All our representatives are busy now, please leave a voice mail and we’ll get back to you soon.” That was three hours ago, and I’m still waiting.
In the grand scheme of things, this is not a huge problem. I’m sure it will get sorted out eventually, and even if they do turn our gas off temporarily, we have electric space heaters and I can cook in our electric toaster oven. But it is annoying and something I’d rather not deal with.
Lately, I’ve found myself getting far too annoyed at “the little things.” When a neighbor decided to keep her trash cans at the curb next to our driveway, I was really offended, and not just because it’s against the city ordinances. It bothered me to look out my window and see them there. I got upset when there was only one checker working in the store on a busy Saturday morning, resulting in a long wait to check out with my groceries. It seemed that the little things were adding up, and I was reacting with both anger and impatience.
Which meant that it was time for a good old-fashioned “attitude adjustment.” Yes, life has been difficult for the past two years and continues to be in many ways. But the reality is that if I can pay enough attention to the little things to become annoyed by them, then I can also pay enough attention to the little things to react in a more positive way. The trick is simply to pay attention to different little things.
Rather than look out my window and see ugly trash cans, I can focus on the beautiful daffodils or the lovely purple buds on our young tree. Instead of being frustrated by how hard it is to schedule family gatherings at holidays, I can be thankful that my son and daughter live close enough that we always get to celebrate the holidays with them and their families. I can be thankful that my husband and I are able to eat inside our favorite restaurants again, be grateful that today’s storms didn’t cause any damage in our area, and thrilled that one of my favorite shelter dogs was finally adopted.
Yes, the little things do count, and they do have a very real effect on our moods. But the good news is that the positive little things add up just as quickly as the negative ones, and they produce a much, much better result. And the choice of which little things we pay attention to is ours……