So, last week, the lovely Rhian waved to you from her geek girl armchair in one of her many fandom t-shirts (I work with her so I can tell you it really is true – she has a lot of those tops!). What you probably don’t know is that we had a technical glitch in getting the blog post, well, posted. I’m not the most technically savvy person on the planet, or even in the room (the only other “person” currently in the room is my handsome Wolf which should give you some idea of my technological capabilities) so I’ll just use the all-encompassing explanation that the website server was down. I have no idea what that actually means but that’s what this handy little website told me.
Whilst there, I did what any normal person would do and snooped on all the comments to see what people were saying. And all of them were complaining. Not a shocker, I suppose, but some were talking about how the service interruption would likely cost them millions of dollars in business deals (I don’t mean to be a Disbelieving Delilah but if you’re running a multi-million dollar company do you really have time to be leaving snarky comments?) and many were trying to outdo each other in what the service interruption would cost them/had cost them. I have a website (*spreads arms wide to demonstrate* ta-dah!) so I understand the challenges of getting people here and what to do with them once you do manage to get them here … still working on the latter!
I was talking it over with my therapist (a.k.a. my mum). Talking about how people react to these situations and about how, when disaster strikes, people either react or respond. Mostly, I’m a responder (a lemonade maker, if you will). So when something like that happens I get out my little juicer, some water and a tiny bit of sugar (for “tiny” read “a lot”) and mix up a refreshing batch of let’s-make-the-best-of-it.
Of course there are days when I don’t want to do that. There are days when I want to pin the lemon dealer to the ground and squirt his own darn lemon juice right in his eyes. (That sounds a bit rude, doesn’t it?) But, on those days, I take myself by the hand and go and sit in a dark room for a while until I’ve overcome my murderous inclinations (I do this by imagining numerous gruesome fates that could possibly befall said lemon dealer in excruciating detail). Then I dust myself off, paste my smile on, adjust my positive attitude into place and head back out into the world with my diabetic-coma-inducing lemonade. Sometimes I have to fake the smile and the attitude for a while but the longer it’s in place the more real it becomes.
Bad things happen sometimes. Things that irritate us happen sometimes. Things that annoy us to the very core of our being happen sometimes. Some people will just shrug and say “it’s life”. And yes, it is life. But, specifically, it’s your life and when this stuff happens you can choose whether to react or respond to it. You can choose whether you let that negative emotion consume you and let it drive you to write pointless negative comments and complain (which really isn’t going to help) or whether you stand back and say “Okay, so, this wasn’t what I had planned for today but let’s find a good lemon recipe and see what we can make.”.
When something like this happens I always think of this quote:
I know that having your website crash might not look like much of an adventure but that’s because you’re looking at it wrong. Don’t stress it, instead use the time to do something else. Something useful. Something fun. If you can, take the dog out for a walk in the sunshine – you might just meet your future wife/husband. Finish/start another project – it might be the one that makes you a gazillionaire/wins you the nobel prize. Help a colleague – they might return the favour exactly when you need it. Read a book (mine is available here. I’m so sorry – just couldn’t resist!). But whatever you choose to do, don’t just sit there staring at the screen and count how many minutes your website has been down for, because if it’s been down for ten minutes then it’s been down for ten minutes. Counting each one of those six hundred seconds won't have changed anything and you’ve just wasted the last six hundred seconds of your life by counting the last six hundred seconds of your life. And you won't get them refunded when your website comes back online.
While mine was down I wrote this blog post, hung the washing out, made a cup of tea, had a biscuit and played with my puppy. Not simultaneously, obviously – I’m human not an octopus. (Someone recently told me that when an octopus gets stressed it starts eating itself. When she told me I had so many questions but she couldn’t answer them. Because I just can’t live with that I googled – here’s the rest of the story.) Did I have an adventure during that time? Not really, but then I didn’t waste those precious seconds counting out those precious seconds either. My puppy was happy for the attention. I was happier for having his attention (until he bit my finger when he mistook it for the toy we were playing with). And did you hear me say there was tea and biscuits?
I could try and get all pseudo-intellectual and be like “Life is all about *something smart* and *something else smart* …” but really life is about many, many things depending on who you ask. Happiness, love, money, success, yada yada yada but, for me, all of these can come under one heading: (Okay, so I am going get all pseudo-intellectual! Get ready for it.) perspective. And that’s something you have plenty of control over. So when that darn lemon dealer comes your way again, take a moment to choose your perspective. Choose to make lemonade. Or lemon meringue. Or lemon curd. Or some other lemon based edible thing that you think is tasty. You’re going to have to eat those lemons one way or another so why not make them delicious?