I’ve had my share of unfortunate incidents. There was the time I visited a friend in Boston and within six hours was hospitalized with a stomach virus. Another time, while out dancing with friends, my hand collided with someone’s glass, shattering it and tearing my hand open. The day before my summer internship in New York City, a friend fell on top of me and broke my leg. On my first day volunteering with rescue dogs, an excited puppy jumped up to lick my face resulting in four stitches. A few months ago, I took generic medicine for an upset stomach causing sudden anaphylaxis. And a couple week ago, while visiting friends in LA, I broke my foot crossing the street. When I say, “had my share of unfortunate accidents,” I really mean a lifetime’s worth. But hey, if you ask anyone, I’m generally a happy person. Why? Because, I consider myself blessed.
Shit happens. In my case, a lot of weird shit happens, but you can’t let it consume you. If you do, you’ll miss out on all the amazing opportunities and experiences available to you. So strap on your walking boot, and roll with the sucker punches.
1. Remember, it could always be worse. When a generic drug sent me into anaphylaxis, I was lucky enough to recognize the symptoms and have an EPI pen on hand. My ability to identify the problem, act quickly, and get to the ER saved my life. Although the experience was scary, it could have resulted in death. I call that a bright side.
2. Accept help when offered. There is no need to be a martyr. When I broke my foot in LA, I was lucky enough to be with a close friend. She immediately took me to Emergency Care, assisted me by re-arranging her apartment to accommodate my limitations, and adjusted our schedule to make it work. It is hard to stay positive when you assume the burden. By accepting help, you can release some of the stress associated with your hardship.
3. Keep going. Don’t get sucked into a rut. Now is not the time to throw a pity party. When I broke my leg in Boston, I was forced to quit my part-time retail job but committed myself to making the hour commute to my internship. It was inconvenient, sweaty and tiring, but the internship was worth it. It was a great opportunity to work with seasoned professionals and resulted in a part-time job the following semester. If you give up, you will stew in the misery and risk missing out on valuable opportunities.
4. Take pleasure in the little things. When a happy puppy cut my brow with his lower canines, I could have (and some say should have) never returned to the rescue. I returned the following week to walk that very same dog. He had never shown any aggression and quickly became my friend. I have always loved animals and found assisting them to be deeply fulfilling. Don’t become consumed with your problem. Focus on the things that make you happy and do them often.
Shit’s going to happen. All you can do is unclog the toilet and enjoy the rest of your life.