Many times in my life, I’ve been presented with challenges that would kill a normal person. By kill, I mean make them freak out and obsess about what is happening to them. I have been guilty of this, but it’s usually the petty, small stuff that sets me off (traffic lights turning red just as I’m approaching makes me curse the light’s very existence, for example). The big stuff has no visible effect on me.
If you were to watch me react when I got the phone call telling me Dad died, you would have thought it was a call telling me you made meatloaf for dinner. Even though his death was expected, it was still an unwelcome phone call in the middle of my work day. I took the news, internalized it, and went back to work. I didn’t know what else to do at that moment. I told my supervisor at the end of the day about the phone call and he was shocked that I didn’t just pack up and leave for the next few days.
I have had other moments in life that challenged me. I’ve had to endure IRS agents, a head-on collision while driving a Mazda Miata, the death of both parents, divorce (especially challenging was telling my kids), losing a job, and on and on.
I need time to process “lemon giving” moments in life. I am a problem solver, so I need time to analyze, evaluate, and solve the problem. I used to live with a woman who freaked out constantly because I wasn’t solving my problems on her timetable. When I’m faced with something I just can’t solve, I put it aside and keep living my life as normally as possible. As I go about my day distracting myself from the problem at hand, you may wonder why I’m not freaking out constantly. I freak out internally and find something to do that helps take my mind off of the problem. By doing this, I always come up with a way to solve the problem. The solution is never apparent during the freak out stage. It always comes to me during a calm moment.
While I do go about my problem solving in a very internal and personal way, I rely on family and friends to help me – if only to distract me. When I’m with someone and we’re enduring the same stress (bad service at a restaurant, waiting in line endlessly, watching the Reds lose again), I love it when the other person freaks out for me! I get to laugh and make fun of the stress when the other person complains! Let’s face it – if they didn’t freak out, I’d have to do it for them!