Life can come at you pretty fast, and it rarely cares what you may be dealing with at any given moment. Challenges and work assignments will continue to pile up, regardless of the fact you may feel that you’ve “got enough on your plate” or can’t keep up. The big problem as well, is that society is still quite a bit behind the times as it relates to acknowledging that sometimes, a person needs a mental health day or to simply shut down and recover from whatever they may be facing.
Unfortunately for us, life doesn’t work that way. Even though some people have the ability and resources to take a step back and let their heads cool from the pressures of life, we’re not all so lucky. Eventually, it can become overwhelming, and cause a variety of issues like burnout, depression and negative thoughts. It’s important to remember to take steps to ensure that these don’t happen. After all, your mental health and wellbeing is your responsibility.
They say that life will never pile on more than you can handle. If this is true, my shoulders must be capable of bearing quite a bit. Last Friday, a significant amount came piling on. The day before I had noticed a strange sound coming from the family vehicle. The way I describe it is to compare it to the winding up sound that Doc Brown’s DeLorean makes when it accelerates in Back to the Future. Unfortunately, my vehicle wasn’t travelling through time. I called that evening to make an appointment to get it repaired and was asked to drop the vehicle off at 8 am the following morning.
The next morning, I began my typical work-from-home Friday at 7 am. It was raining heavily and unfortunately, we discovered that our roof was leaking. I discovered it by accident, as water was driving between floor boards in the basement. This struck me as odd, until I realized water was falling from the attic by way of the space between the inner walls and into the basement. in short order, every light fixture in the upstairs was dripping with water.
Great. As if dealing with the vehicle wasn’t enough of an issue for the end of the week. I immediately sent an email to the roofing company I had received an estimate from, last May. I realized it was 7:30 am and I needed to head out in order to drop off the SUV. My wife reminds me that she has her first vaccination appointment at 5:40 and to ensure that the garage will return our vehicle prior to that. I drove down to the garage and dropped off the SUV. Then, I walked to the bus stop that should take me back home. The rain was practically torrential, soaking my legs and feet within minutes.
I arrived at the bus shelter and checked the arrival schedule on the inner wall. The #5 was scheduled to arrive at 7:55 am. Splendid! It was already past 7:45, so I had less than ten minutes to wait. Then, I noticed a #5 on the opposite side of the road heading towards downtown. Shit. Seems that the arrival schedule was meant for the other direction. I did a quick Google maps search and discovered that the next bus towards home would be in 30 minutes. The physical walk would only be 20. I had the choice of waiting for half an hour, followed by a ten minute bus ride or get my legs moving and be home in 20 minutes. I opted to walk.
By the time I got home, I was soaked through, cold and sniffling. The water situation at home had worsened. The baby’s room was leaking water down the east wall, resulting in paint bubbles. I decided to step it up and phone the roofing company, not satisfied to wait for an email response. I got no answer and left a detailed voicemail. I changed clothes and tried to get back to work. Key word was “try.” I should mention that it was one of those so-called “teacher development days” and Nathan was home for the day. He and the baby were blessing us with their usual colourful display of noise and destruction. Work was impossible.
I only had one meeting scheduled. I arranged to have it an hour earlier, then told my boss I would be taking a vacation day. He agreed that I had a significant amount on my plate for one day. The stress and pressure of everything happening at once started to pile up. Such pressure affects different people in different ways. For me, it makes me focused and committed to solving the problem. I’ve always been like that. get a problem, solve a problem. I think Lee Child’s character, Jack Reacher, said that at some point.
I got the car fixed. I was able to grab the correct bus back to the area where the garage was located. With the vehicle properly repaired, I went back home and decided to ease the sting of the day by ordering pizza for everyone. The rain had stopped and with it, the drips in each respective room ground to a halt. The crisis was averted. For now. I did a few work-related tasks and had some food, and the world looked just a little bit better.
George S. Patton Jr. once said, “Pressure makes diamonds.” And it’s quite accurate. Sometimes the intense pressure we’re exposed to in our daily lives can lead to very beautiful things, as long as we’re willing to see it through and persevere. It’s the natural example of how life doesn’t care about one’s plans. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make them. AND keep fighting the good fight, even when the odds seem overwhelming. Food for thought…
in closing, the roofing company didn’t get back to me before end-of-day. guess I’ll have to chase them down this week and get my roof shingles seen to. The previous owner of our house, may he rest in peace, re-shingled the roof almost fifteen years ago. But he only did the front half, facing the street. Ironically, the only rooms that had water leakage were the ones on the back side of the house. Where the shingles weren’t replaced. Yet another lesson that if you’re going to do any thing, you must do it properly and completely. Or else suffer the consequences of your shortcuts. of course, I’m suffering the consequences of someone else’s shortcuts, but the message is still the same. (Thanks for the post idea, Boris!) ☯