I sat in a meeting this morning and began to fume. As I realized I was fuming I began to fume more because this meeting was melting away the zen that I had achieved this summer. I swear twenty new wrinkles appeared on my forehead during the fifty minutes I sat in that room.
I see posts on Facebook all the time about work and how infuriating work can be. But it’s not just work. It can be that trip to the grocery store. That driver in front of you. That other parent on the soccer team. Lots of little annoying realities of daily life can and have caused me to lose sight of my zen.
As I sat in the maddening meeting, squirming in my seat from frustration, I asked myself a simple question: Will it matter 100 years from now? I’m going to keep asking that of myself and of others as a way of preserving my newly-won placidity.
Will the fact that the PTO is doing the wrapping paper fundraiser for the tenth year in a row matter 100 years from now? Will the tomato juice stain on the carpet matter 100 years from now? Will the fact that we’re taking on a reform initiative at work that undoes all of the work from the previous reform initiative matter 100 years from now?
Of course not. And, because I’m middle age, I only have half a life left. I can’t be bothered with the small stuff. There’s just not time.
I know. There’s a book about that. I would have read it when it came out in 1996, but I was busy being pissed off at my then boyfriend’s ex-wife and trying to figure out how I fit into his children’s lives and finishing a degree and working and trying to lose 15 pounds and have nice hair. I didn’t have time to think about the big stuff. Because I thought it was all big stuff. Maybe I’ll write my own book that young people won’t have time to read, the conclusions of which they will come to on their own 15-20 years later. Or maybe not because I’m fairly certain no one would be reading it 100 years from now. I think I’ll go make Rice Krispy Treats with my youngest daughter instead. They’ll be around for approximately 20 minutes after all the kids get home. But they’re a lot more fun than reform movements and office efficiencies. And the family that eats them will, I hope, still be around 100 years from now, telling stories about how mellow great-grandma was.