My “One Moment” this week
A long time ago, on a dare, I gave up swearing and grumbling. I was working in a newsroom at the time. My college education was in journalism, and the first 15 years of my professional life were spent in newsrooms — which is a lot like being raised by sailors. I’ve heard and used almost every kind of foul language, and almost nothing you can say would shock me. Swearing in a newsroom is pretty much second nature.
A reporter came into work one morning, either on or just before Ash Wednesday, and said she didn’t know what she should give up for Lent. Laughing, I dared her to give up swearing. She looked at me and said, “I will if you will.”
Well, I wasn’t raised Catholic, and have never been asked nor expected to give anything up for Lent. But this wasn’t about Lent. It was a challenge. So the bet was on. Could either of us actually give up swearing?
I’m happy to report that I made it through Easter and well beyond without swearing. Every time something happened that started to raise my ire… every time I got frustrated with a reporter or someone else on the phone and wanted to slam the phone down and let loose a tirade… I instead took a deep breath and let it go. I actually let it go. I just moved on, said to myself, “It’s over. Oh, well. What’s next?”
And here’s the point of my story:
What I discovered was that I was a much happier person. Where I had always thought that venting let me get rid of frustration, I learned that it actually just kept that frustration alive or multiplied it. I learned that I actually could take that deep breath, clear my head and let go of whatever was bothering me in that moment.
Life goes by in seconds and minutes, not just hours and days. And to a great extent, we have the power to decide which seconds and minutes define our hours and days. We can let the bad seconds and minutes pass by, or we can help them multiply and take over our lives. If we choose to let them go, we can wait for the good seconds and minutes, and choose those as the ones we want to extend and relive. It might sound kind of dopey, but on a minute by minute basis, it can work. Give it a try. See what happens.
By the way, I have seen one of my two dogs do this many times. Faced with something bad happening to him — the other dog stealing his toy, for example, or chastising him for getting too rambunctious — I have seen Tank get a look of consternation on his face and then almost literally shake that off, perk up, “smile” and run off happily wagging his tail. You just can’t ruin that little dog’s day.
This was my “One Moment” discovery (rediscovery, really) this week — the one thing that made me give pause and appreciate life more. Did you have One Moment that gave you pause? Join the One Moment online meetup, and share it. Learn more on the À la mode Stuff blog, which shares One Moment every week, by clicking the button below.