one of the many wise things that my mother taught me growing up is the adage "attitude is everything." it frequently was accompanied by the encouragement, "act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic" to which i mostly rolled my eyes. there have been several times in my life where i have been put in difficult, frustrating, and/or stressful situations where the awareness of my attitude really has allowed me to not lose my mind at those moments. let's take an example from last week:
not having much extra fundage this holiday season, i kept putting off doing my Christmas shopping as i figured out who i could buy for, and who would have to settle for my love and friendship. finally i went to the mall on tuesday night. i left my house at 8:30 hoping that by going late i would avoid some of the insanity. i went into knowing it might be crazy and just said, "alex, be patient and you'll be fine." i got to mission valley mall, parked in the first place i saw (no point in driving around for hours trying to find the closest spot), and ventured into the mall. it was busy but not overwhelming. i stopped in aeropostale to get a gift card for my roomie and saw the checkout line stretching out the door. i took a deep breath, looked around the store, and one of the employees said, "come back in like 45 minutes and the line will be gone...we're open 'til 11." i had other stops to make so i journeyed on. went to sports chalet, target, and best buy and never waited more than 3-4 minutes in line. upon my arrival back at aeropostale i discovered that indeed the line was very minimal. i made my purchase and headed back to my car. i could have gotten frustrated with parking lot stupidity, lines, and rude people stepping on my toes and cutting in line, but why? deep breaths and a smile can make a huge difference.
i've tried to continue with that perspective, but driving lately has been making that difficult. i typically have a lot of patience, but i have found myself lacking it more frequently lately. i find myself yelling at other drivers, catching myself, and taking a deep breath. my grandmother had a magnet on her refrigerator (still there today) that says, "grant me patience, o Lord, but hurry." how true is that?! we're willing to acknowledge our need for it and ask, but we don't want to wait! one of my new year's resolutions will be to be more aware of and focus on my attitude. i won't always succeed, but hopefully making an effort will not only make a difference in my relationships but in my own sanity as well... ~aroll