It’s been a bad week.
It’s been one of those weeks where all the plans I’ve made fall through, the list of things to do seems too long and my bag is so full of books that I make a weird “oof” noise every time I pick it up. Qdoba ran out of chips, The Root ran out of truffle fries, I overslept and didn’t have time to work out and I spilled a glass of wine (it’s OK, I’m 21) on my favorite fuzzy blanket.
Sunlight deprivation and a soggy Family Weekend almost pushed me to the point where I crawl into bed, give up on school and resign myself to living in my mom’s basement for the rest of my life.
And I let these things ruin my week.
A good friend of mine talks about having an internal locus of control, as opposed to an external one.
I didn’t take any psych classes past Introduction to Psychology, but the way I understand it, people who have an internal locus of control find gratification from within.
They see themselves as being in control, rather than being controlled by external factors. They believe that they — not external factors such as luck, others’ actions or bad timing — are responsible for their own successes or failures.
I think this internal or external locus of control can extend to mood. I was in a terrible, biting-heads-off funk all week, and I blamed everything (and everyone) else for causing it. I blamed my classes, my professors and the weather. I never thought that I could choose whether these things should affect me.
Honestly, it’s easier to let a few bad things ruin your week than it is to put them in perspective and focus on the good things.
Truffle-fry-deprivation felt overwhelmingly awful and I, in my hangry, miserable state, was too upset to consider that there would be more truffle fries the next day. But there were, I ate some and they were delicious.
This horrible extended metaphor is my attempt to say that minor upsets in life are just that — minor.
Life isn’t always great. Things don’t always go right, and sometimes all the bad things pile up into one colossally awful week.
I don’t think I’m the only one to feel this way. But I know I have a harder time shaking off the minor things than some of my friends, and that’s partially my decision.
There are so many other things to worry about than truffle fries and a wine-stained blanket. I can choose to focus on them and let them blow out of proportion, or I can choose not to. It’s not always a choice I think about, and it’s not an easy choice to stick to. But I think it’s a choice I need to make more often.
Actually, I think a lot of us could benefit from making this choice more often. Instead of blaming malfunctioning printers, long coffee lines, bad traffic or faulty alarms for ruining our mornings, days or weeks, just don’t.
Accept that things go wrong, maybe sulk for a minute or two, then move on. You can complain to your best friend, parent or stuffed animal later, but don’t let the minor things ruin the major things. It’s not worth it.
In high school, every day at the end of morning announcements the principal would say, “Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.”
This is, of course, painfully cheesy and we all tuned it out, but maybe it’s true.
Maybe the choice is ours, and we just have to make it.