Curveballs and Frustration

I had a rough day today.

I was scheduled to have a time-consuming appointment today that I’d been worried about. It was with someone that I wasn’t sure I could count on. I’ve had appointments with this person before and more than half the time something goes wrong and the whole schedule goes awry. But when she does show up, she still does a kind of service and quality I cannot find elsewhere and she’s also nice. So I keep trying again and again even though the lack of predictability and dependability drives me absolutely mad.

So I went to bed last night worrying about this and when I woke up, I was still worried. Lo and behold, something went wrong on her side and then some more things went wrong and she didn’t show up at all. Not only that but now I am not sure when the follow up will be and it was something I really needed.

There’s nothing quite like unpredictability to completely ruin my day.

Even though my plans went out the window, nothing major really went wrong today. My kids are fine, work is fine, I am fine and so is Jake. My family. Everything else went as expected and if I had to bet on it, I would say chances are this particular issue will get sorted out pretty soon as well. She will eventually show up and all will be fine.

But, alas, it still ruined my day. While one side of me was frustrated, dejected and even panicking at the schedule change, the other side of me was yelling at the first side for being such a pain. Even as I fully recognized what I was doing was immature and unhelpful, I couldn’t stop myself from feeling frustrated and off balance.

I am not a “just roll with it” girl and I never will be. So when I get notice for jury duty (which I did recently, by the way) it will frustrate me. When someone I made an appointment with doesn’t show up and doesn’t schedule a solid follow up, it will frustrate me. When something unexpected happens, it will frustrate me. I’ve learned that it’s better to accept who I am than chastise myself for being who I am.

But here’s the thing about life: unexpected things will happen.

I have a husband and two kids. Unexpected things will happen. I rely on other people to help me out with certain things. They have their own lives and families. Unexpected things will happen. I use machines and scripts and systems to do my job. Machines fail. Scripts break. Unexpected things will happen. Unless I live in a hole and don’t talk to anyone, ever, unexpected things will happen.

It’s part of life.

And since I know this and I know those things will always frustrate me and throw me off, I need to find a way to make it all work. I need to find a way to be able to sit with it and not let it ruin my day. Not let it affect the rest of my life. Not have my frustration spill over to my kids and husband. So I’ve been thinking about this a lot today.

One obvious solution is to remove as many undependable people from my life as possible. And I can make such changes so people in my life have integrity and are reliable. But in some cases that will be impossible. Unexpected things will still happen. So what do I do then?

I think one trick is to take a walk. To clear my mind and realize the relative importance of this disruption. Often times, the problems that come up are resolvable and not critical. I can also do what I am doing right now, which is to write it down. Writing not only helps with perspective but it also allows me to get the frustration out of my system. And, finally, I can take time to actively play with my kids or do art. Both of these things give me temporary relief and joy because I tend to get lost in what I am doing and as opposed to just watching TV, they don’t leave me with an empty feeling afterwards.

I don’t know if any of these will work but I think they are all worth trying because letting every little curveball ruin my day will mean many many ruined days and I cannot afford to waste my precious time here like that.

How about you? Do you have a good way to deal with feeling frustrated?

5 comments to Curveballs and Frustration

  • Diane

    Hi Karen!
    When trying to schedule around something that I think may or may not happen, I mentally create a backup plan. I’ll block out the time in my schedule for the meeting, but then also think of what I’ll do if it falls through. I’m not putting it down, and overscheduling myself, but I’m not leaving myself in the lurch either. Otherwise I’d sit and stew over how much time was wasted, and what a bother it is to suddenly have the day thrown out the window. If I have a backup plan, I transition right over to it, and I feel great. It’s free time and getting a bonus item off my to-do list completed. It keeps me in control, not the other person. good luck!

  • Susan

    I breathe, repeat this too shall pass. Sometimes I ask myself if anyone is dying always answering no which puts the situation in perspective. I calm down and later make an art journal piece about my feelings. I just went through a situation like this yesterday and of course it all worked out despite my worry and fretting, which reminded me as always everything works out in the time it was meant too…which isn’t always my time! Thank you for sharing this post.

  • cindy b

    Karen, like you, I can get really frustrated with the outside things that I have no control over. What frustrates me the most is other peoples lack of sensitivity and respect for my time and feelings. Unfortunately, I tend to “hang” on to the frustration and repeat (many times) to my husband about my disgust for such behavior. LOL!! I do have a hard time letting go but I do my best to take my mind off such trivial matters by going for a run to clear my head. Sometimes though, my frustration is so elevated that it affects my exercise and then I am REALLY irritated. 🙂 For the most part I try to push through it and when in doubt my house seems to always be in a mess that I will try and clean. If my desk is somewhat clean and I have the time I LOVE to mess in my art journals and sadly, I am not finding time to do that lately and it saddens me. 🙂

  • dawn

    I am just like you in this area Karen, I am no a roll with the punches kinda girl. My days are planed and when I have an appt. for 10 you can count on me being there at 9:50. Best to be early then be late I always say. It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t go my way and my plans get changed. Have to admit to being angry and will yell and be grumpy to my family and thankfully they know it’s not about them. I am trying to roll with punches a little better especially when it comes to the kids school/sports activities. Why oh why does the coach say practice is over at 8:00 but runs past then still pulls the kids aside and talks with them before they can leave. I mean really 8:00 means 8:00!!!! So your not the only one my friend. Sorry you had to have this happen again. Good for you writing about it and getting it out. Don’t really have any tips!

  • i so totally get very frustrated and over react and try really hard to remove myself before i pass that negativity on. sometimes i am successful.. sometimes i am not
    breath is the best thing to do and remember not everyone can live up to anothers expectations

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