The Small Stuff
You likely have heard the phrase about ‘not sweating the small stuff.’ That is a good rule to live by in most cases, but many times what constitutes the “small stuff” is not always the same from person to person.
As somebody who uses a wheelchair for mobility, there are many activities that could easily be considered “small stuff” to other people that are pretty big things to me and my daily life. Even something as mundane as putting on socks and shoes while seated in a wheelchair can present some problems. In most cases to put socks and shoes on, you have to bend forward at the waist. This raises the very real possibility of my falling forward out of my chair. This doesn’t always occur, but merely knowing that it is a possibility makes me have to focus intensely and pay attention to prevent it. Most of the time, everything goes smoothly and I’ll be able to begin my day with a smile as opposed to having to figure out how to get up off the floor and back in my wheelchair (not to mention the checks for blood if I smack my head on the way to the floor).
For example, I was cutting some chicken to cook for dinner the other day and I was using a very new and very sharp knife. I chose not to wear chainmail gauntlets, but, none-the-less, I did not draw any blood the entire time (knock on wood)! And cutting myself is not exactly an infrequent occurrence when I’m using a knife for dinner preparation. Whether it’s just a nick that only bleeds a little or a slice on the end of my finger that bleeds more significantly, any cut makes rolling around in a wheelchair and using my hands difficult. Blood can easily end up on clothes or in the food. So, while cutting chicken with no injury to my fingers may be a little thing to some people, it is significant to me, and it makes me quite happy and a bit proud of myself when I do so without incident.
And sometimes, to keep my sanity, I have to classify an occurrence as “small stuff” and not a disaster. For instance, last week I was making homemade pizza. We already had the crust so I was putting items on the pizza like sauce, sausage, peppers, onions, cheese and fresh herbs. The crusts were on a cookie sheet on the counter and I was admiring the pizza before I put it in the oven. One little turn of my chair and somehow I knocked the cookie sheet and it fell on the floor. Yes, you can imagine the scene. While the sauce, sausage and some of the cheese and vegetables stayed on, the majority was all over the kitchen floor. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was mad and uttered a few choice words. I put what remained in the oven and cleaned up the floor with a broom as best I could. The pizza was okay, but would’ve been much better if half of the toppings were not lost. But if I had made this into a massive disaster and not a minor blip, the entire dinner and evening would have been even more distressing. See, in my life, what might be a big thing to others is often classified as more of a little thing to me. I need to save my energy for the more significant disasters!
I am not suggesting that to be happy you need to lower your standards! What I am suggesting is that you give yourself a break and not get out of sorts when things don’t go your way. Be happy about some of the small things you accomplish. It sounds corny, but when you stop sweating some of the “small stuff” you will have less stress and feel more optimistic about what you have accomplished.