I’ve talked about it before, and it’s no surprise to those who know me. I am a creature of habit. I mean, big time. I create processes for things I do regularly, each step is part of the experience. And the “experience” is a big deal for me. As in, I shop at Whole Foods because I like the “experience.” I wander, I look at interesting products, I taste different samples, the people are nice, and unique. I don’t care if some products are more expensive, I am about the experience.
Yesterday morning, I went for an early swim. I swim during the week, but it’s early, and dark. Saturday mornings, I can go a little later (as if 7 a.m. is late, but later than my normal time). It’s light out, quiet…an awesome way to start the day. I even get to be a little hopped up on caffeine since I’ve been up for a while. Amazing how that gives me more energy! I go to Starbucks, get coffee and a water which I take with me and have poolside to drink during my workout. I get to the gym, ready to go…cap on, earplugs in, goggles on, swim watch ready to count my laps, water, game on.
So as I started swimming, about one lap in, it dawned on me. No water. I’d left in in my car. Routine disrupted.
I usually swim for about an hour and I had a choice to make.
I could continue swimming but be thinking about how stupid I was for not remembering my water. Lamenting the entire time about how, “once again,” I’d done something dumb.
I could get angry. Swim ruined. Can’t continue without water so I’ll just pack up my toys and go home.
I could accept it, rationalizing that I wouldn’t die of thirst in an hour. The pool wasn’t the Sahara desert.
I could be thankful that I’d have water in the car when I was done.
I could see it as an opportunity – as a positive because, honestly, drinking more water after the coffee I had was likely to make me have to take a nature break in the middle of my swim.
I could “become one” with the water and know that the water I inadvertently consumed as it got in my mouth while I breathed would do the job.
I chose to keep swimming. Adjusting my routine, not beating myself up, thankful I wouldn’t have to take a break in the middle of my swim. And everything worked out. It continued to be a beautiful, peaceful morning and I didn’t die of thirst.
But that’s not always the choice I’ve made. I’ve beat myself up. I’ve gotten angry. There have been times when I’ve questioned whether I really swam at all because I didn’t have my Garmin telling me how many yards I had. In reality, what good did that do me? None. Why would I get so worked up over the little things?
The choices we make about how to respond to what life presents us creates our “experiences.” We can choose responses that move the experience forward, or choose to respond in a way that propels us into a negative death spiral and ruins the experience.
These days, I choose “move the experience forward.” That hasn’t always been the case. It’s taken a bit of work to get there, but my life is different because I can now enjoy experiences just as they are. It takes work to stay in that mindset, but it’s worth it. I encourage you to look at what you choose – do you move forward or do you get stuck? If you’re stuck and want to move forward, I’d love to work with you, because I choose forward and know that you can too!