Lately, as we observe the overwhelming problems plaguing Mother Earth, it’s easy to forget to work ourselves up about the day-to-day stressors that demand our attention. It’s called sweating the small stuff. I highly recommend it, and there are plenty of opportunities give it a try.
Like when the driver ahead of you at a traffic light, the one who idles away precious seconds after the light turns green, failing to immediately put the pedal to the metal and roar across the intersection. I’ve actually counted to five waiting for these scofflaws to get off the dime so I can get on with my life. I mean, I have places to go, time clocks to punch, lines to avoid at the espresso stand. It’s at these moments that those huge problems intrude upon my thoughts and I want to shout at the driver, “What are you waiting for? Peace in the Middle East? The Gulf oil cleanup? North Korea to nuke its neighbor to the south?”
Common sense keeps me from honking my horn or flipping an obscene hand gesture. In these days of road rage with its potentially detrimental consequences, better to be safe than sorry. Thus it is I mutter a few bad words under my breath, keep my hands glued to the steering wheel and wait in surly silence until, at last, the slacker in front of me moves on.
Another stressor is losing track of one’s car in a shopping center parking lot. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only shopper who, giddy with excitement that I actually found an empty space, parks and enters the store, confident I’ll remember exactly where I left my car when, shopping spree ended, I retrace my route. I am careful to identify nearby signs and cart returns, landmarks to guide my way. Ah, that it were that easy! I can’t count the times I’ve found myself wandering aimlessly through the lot, often in a torrential downpour, pushing a cartload of merchandise, desperately seeking my vehicle. My heart leaps with joy as I see a sign, one I’d noticed on the way in, advising the store is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Then I realize those signs are everywhere. I acknowledge their benefit to merchants, for whom plausible deniability is crucial, and of course no shopper wants a car burglarized. But posting these signs every second row does little to assist customers like me who rely on them to aid us in finding our cars.
I mean, could these lots not be marked by easily identifiable icons, like at the Disney theme parks? There, you glance up, notice Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Dumbo or the Little Mermaid hovering above you, and the return to your vehicle is a cinch. You’d think at least grocery stores could come up with logos to mark sections of their lots. A bunch of bananas, maybe, or a cluster of grapes? Or perhaps a gallon of milk, a brick of cheese, a carton of eggs, a loaf of bread? I can almost promise no one will get confused by these symbols, not to mention they could serve as reminders of something overlooked on one’s grocery list. Whatever the image, if it pointed the way to a shopper’s vehicle, I can almost guarantee customer satisfaction would soar to stratospheric heights.
Of course, aggravating and stressful as these minor irritations may be, we know they’re nothing compared to wars, impending financial collapse, environmental disasters and world hunger. However, things like inconsiderate drivers, cars that seem to vanish in parking lots and a myriad of other petty aggravations do help keep our minds off the huge issues that bombard our senses with doom and gloom. Plus it is hard indeed to chill out in the face of global warming, inching us ever closer to planetary destruction.
Thus my advice remains: Sweat the small stuff. Trust me, you will definitely feel a whole lot better, your stress level with keep pace with the significance of just which small stuff you are sweating, and besides—those who seem to know about these things are saying that perspiration is good for one’s health. It burns calories, improves the cardiovascular system, helps the body cleanse itself and gives our skin a healthy glow.
So give it a try. I can almost guarantee you’ll feel better. But one more small piece of advice: Keep your deodorant handy!