3 Ways To Help Keep The Little Things From Ruining Your Day

Circa 1970’s – Age 12

All the guys had been called the night before (no easy task on a rotary phone) and everything had been planned down to the smallest detail.  Remember those Saturdays?

“Grab your skateboard and meet in front of the school at 9 a.m. tomorrow for a killer day of shredding every sidewalk, curb, stair, jump and person we could find.”

It was going to be an epic time with plenty of maneuvers, wipeouts, laughs and, most of all, memories!  I could hardly wait!  I remember waking up early that morning, catching a couple of Bugs Bunny cartoons while getting dressed, eating breakfast (I think) and then racing for the garage.  Running at top speed, I remember grabbing my skateboard, flinging it out on the ground ahead of me and leaping on it all in one motion.  I flew down my driveway and shot out into the street as fast as my clay (yes, clay) wheels would take me.  I carved a nice turn to the right around the corner of my cul-de-sac, gave it two hard pushes on the sidewalk for maximum speed and thought to myself, “Nothing is going to STOP me from having an epic day today!” – Famous last words.

Because, as quickly as my Saturday adventure began it ended.

 “Wham!” I was STOPPED, or more accurately, my board stopped, instantly, not me.  I, instead, was launched from my skateboard high into the air like a flaming boulder fired from a catapult at the enemy’s castle – only it wasn’t a castle wall ahead of me, just sidewalk – cold, HARD, sidewalk. 

I don’t remember if it was knee-elbow-head, elbow-knee-head or head-elbow…It didn’t matter.  The damage had been done, in mere seconds, and my epic day, along with plenty of skin, was gone.  

Lying in a heap, with the pain beginning to set in, I was able to glance back at my trusty skateboard as if to ask it, “Why? Why ruin such an awesomely planned day?” – And there I saw my answer.  Wedged between my front left wheel and the ground in front of it was a pebble, a small pebble, no more than a quarter to half inch in size.  Not big at all. Not even big enough to call a rock, just a tiny pebble, and though my skateboard, and me, and all my momentum wanted to GO, badly, this tiny obstacle had other ideas and decided to change everything and bring everything to a crashing halt.

“How could something so small and insignificant ruin my entire day?”

Ever ask yourself that?  I’m sure we all have.  We’ve all had those well-planned, well-thought-out days where everything that was going to be, or needed to be accomplished came crashing down by the smallest, little thing (a pebble).

The school just called and your youngest one is sick. The car won’t start, or how about that never convenient flat tire.  Those are always fun, aren’t they?  No, Keith, they’re not!  They’re a pain!

Little pebbles!  Little pebbles! – Small things that can ruin an entire day – and why? – Because we’re not ready for them, and never thought to prepare for them before walking out the door.  They weren’t a part of the plan.    

I’ve come to realize you can’t always predict them so the next best thing is to prepare for them instead.  Kind of like sweeping the sidewalk more often is skateboarding is your thing.

Here are 3 ways (nuggets) I’ve found to help keep the little things (pebbles) from ruining my day.

Know where the pebbles might be.  I’m not a doom and gloom type person, but predicting the worst-case scenarios in your day will better help you plan for them.  Children get sick.  Cars do breakdown and tires do go flat.  The washing machine, refrigerator, electricity all have pebbles lurking.  Knowing what could go wrong might not stop it from happening, but it will give you a better mindset if something does go wrong.  Maybe kick the tires, or give them the once-over hopping in your car.  Predicting will lead to better preparation. Make a list of “What ifs,” just in case.

Now that you have your list, be “pebble-prepared.”  Do you have roadside service for your car?  Do you have the number to call them on speed-dial?  Do you have an “I don’t feel so good” kit in the car for little ones who decide that’s where they’re going to get sick today?  Can you change a tire?  Do you know someone who does and might come running if you call?  Are the candles, flashlights, first-aid kits, phone numbers and barf bags all in place?  Try a “what if” scenario and see if you’re prepared and ready to push a pebble aside and keep your day going.  Make a list and check pebbles off.

Having people in place can be the key to getting past the pebbles and keeping your day moving.  What friend or family member do you have in place to pick up your sick one at school if you can’t?  Is their name registered in the school office?  Do you have an electrician friend?  An auto mechanic you trust?  A handyman does work for cheap, or free, or a batch of homemade pasta or cookies?  Having the right people in place, knowing their schedules and how to reach them might just be the key to salvaging even the rockiest (pebbliest) of days!  If you commit to someone’s list, chances are they will commit to yours. It’s worth asking. These are pebbles we’re talking about!  And they are out there, moving into position to try and trip you up.  Some are avoidable, some aren’t.  Some so small there’s no way you can see them ahead.  So, PREDICT, PREPARE and have PEOPLE in place.  Now go out and shred the day!