Each cupcake required an hour of work to decorate. While other bakeries made slapdash, hurried attempts to get their confections presentable and on the shelves for sale, these were works of art. Gold flakes sat perfectly atop white chocolate pools, while candied cherries created the perfect centerpiece for a buttercream basin. Doilies provided the delicate stenciling for powdered sugar snowflakes atop dark chocolate peaks.
When the bakery was robbed, the safe sat untouched, and the only damage was to the locks on the glasses cases. The owners could only forgive the bandits. Wherever they were, they must have been happy.
She had gone to the store to pick out a gift for a baby shower, and when she returned home, the house was in flames. She couldn’t tear her eyes away, the smoke rolling around her flip-flopped feet, the fire casting orange light against the yoga pants she was only going to wear out that one time.
She got back into the car and took stock of her belongings: her wallet. A tube of chapstick. Her keys. A scratchpad. A pen. A soft teddy bear, which she buckled into the passenger seat.
“Okay,” she said as she started driving again.
If there is one thing I always feel like imparting to people, that I try to tell people that they can do, that I wish I could have told myself some number of years back, it’s this: chill.
It’s December, and I live near a very popular mall in the Pittsburgh area. As I was driving home from getting my car inspected, I watched a long line of cars get progressively longer on the way down the highway, heading toward the exit. I could read in the way people were driving – with stiff jerks, quick breaks, and wiggly swerves – that tensions were growing between two groups: the people trying to get to the mall and the people trying to get away from it.
If you let people get under your skin, you’ll never survive. Not right now and not in the future.
If you allow the persnickety voices in your head to snipe at you, you’ll lose your mind.
If you refuse to take a breath and remember that none of this will kill you and all of this shall pass, you’re going to die.
Okay, that last one is a bit dramatic. But have you seen the studies about getting stressed to death? Scary stuff!
And don’t think me a paragon of virtue (or do — and tell me all about it, in flowery detail!). This topic came to me because while I sat in the Ford waiting room – one of my favorite waiting rooms; does that sound crazy? – I took out a notebook to try to diagram out what was making me feel so overwhelmed recently. I had been feeling aimless. Stuck. I didn’t know why. So of course I was expecting needing some great amount of time to dissect all my inner turmoil and problematic scramble of ideas, mismanaged priorities and opportunities that had fallen to the wayside.
I was done in about…twenty minutes. And I was left, laughing to myself as I loaded up Hulu, going, “Uh. I was really built up over nothing.”
None of it is a big deal.
So there we go, folks. Which are you going to be? The serene Ford Focus that passed its inspection and is taking its time heading home while listening to Pinkerton, even if it make take an extra ten minutes? Or the honk-happy Buick who almost slammed into an elderly couple because if it had to wait through the light one more time, it was going to have a hernia?