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Check-In #4: When Trouble Strikes

Photo by Jake Blucker 

As I type this I'm sitting in my apartment waiting to hear back from the mechanic's about my car. Two days ago during a bit of a mid-week heat wave I returned to my car after work to a sweltering hot-box. It was almost 90 degrees in my car, and voila, the AC was blasting hot air at me. "Okay," I thought, "It just needs time to cool down." 20-odd minutes later, and it was like sitting by a log fire.

Car stuff messes me up. I have had nothing but bad luck with my cars. It doesn't help that I know virtually nothing about them. Besides the basic upkeep and maintenance--oil changes, new tires, new wiper blades, car washes, cabin filters--I am clueless. My car is the newest car I've ever owned and was just purchased at the beginning of last year. I've had it for a little over a year, and I've already had to buy four new tires and pay for an evac and recharge of my AC system. If my AC system was recently reset, why on earth would I be having problems now??

It's a struggle not to immediately get upset and worry about the money. Cars are expensive. And the price of having a newer car is even more. Everything in it costs more. I'm so thankful to have it, but when something is wrong, I stress out. I immediately went home and made an appointment to have it checked out. I don't like to let a problem fester and possibly get worse. So here I sit. I dropped it off this morning and have been waiting for 4.5 hours for them to even call and give me an estimate and tell me what the problem is. They said it was gonna be a "couple hours". I'm trying not to let the extra time scare me into thinking that the problem is complicated and hard to pin down. I'm telling myself that they're just busy, and it takes time to dismantle a car, even slightly (I imagine).

I feel that I've done a relatively good job not ruminating on the possibilities of what could happen in this situation. I just saw (felt, more like it) the problem, made an appointment to address it and am now attempting to wait patiently for whatever results may come my way. I haven't catastrophized.

That same day of the AC degeneration I had been signed up for a class on anxiety. My therapist referred me to a six week course of an hour and a half every Wednesday. I have taken courses through my healthcare provider in the past and have benefitted from them greatly at the time. So i buckled in and soaked in everything I could. We did two meditations (one to open and then to close out the class) which always make me feel more calm. I don't know why I don't meditate on my own. I need to give myself the time--even 2 minutes--to use my mindfulness apps and calm the eff down. We went over types of harmful thinking and to no surprise I identified with every single one of them. It's helpful to name what you're feeling and thinking. To recognize the potential problems or challenges.

I can't help but think that between the possible coaching, the anxiety class, the Medium next month and my own conscious decision to reframe my thoughts in the moment I may be on my way to finding a more positive outlook on life. I'm certainly giving myself every opportunity to succeed in my venture.

I think a big part of reframing the negative for me is also accepting the "negative". I had a pretty terrible day at work yesterday, but instead of letting it mess with my whole day and ruin my night spent at home I took steps to actively make things better. Instead of focusing on how bad things were and assuming they would have to stay that way (and wishing that they would have been different) I accepted the circumstances and moved on. So work was shitty. So what? I got myself my favorite Starbucks drink (for free too!) and cooked a new recipe. Normally after a long day at work I don't feel like I have much time to myself to do anything for myself, but I made sure to take it last night. I'm happy I did.

This is a positive step in the right direction.


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