I didn’t win the lottery. The Christmas decorations are not only packed away but have been packed away long enough that dust and clutter have once again begun to accumulate in the spaces they left behind. Then it snowed and the kids got sick. In short, it is January once again. Yay. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, winter bites.
I was rather unexpectedly sent to Chicago last week on behalf of the day job. Now, most of the time I like Chicago just fine. The day I left the skies were blue and somehow my direct flight was actually on time. I thought to myself, wow, if I could travel like this all time I might not mind it quite as much.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
“But who isn’t guilty of occasionally wanting to skim a page or two every now and then?” – Me
But it is January. As we began our descent, the pilot announced that the weather had warmed to a balmy 20 degrees (-6C). Darn, and here I’d forgotten to pack my bathing suit. Upon arrival, I huddled with other passengers in a what was essentially an airlock while we waited for the airport shuttle to arrive. When the shuttle finally did arrive, I almost missed it entirely as the hotel branding was nearly hidden behind a sheet of salt and grey sludge.
I checked into my hotel and made my way into my room. The air inside was only a few degrees warmer than the outside. At least there wasn’t a wind chill. I glanced at the window mounted heater box curious as to the thermostat setting. I expected that someone turned it down, what I didn’t expect was that someone turned it off all together. Chicagoans really don’t notice the cold. I immediately corrected this problem, cranking the heat up, but even so I knew would take a while for the little heater to make a difference.
I burrowed under my covers, but I couldn’t quite escape the chill. I wound up passing that night with my gloves on and my winter coat draped over my shoulders. If images of the Poor Little Matchgirl running through my head weren’t incentive enough to stay awake, the various loud noises coming from the adjacent room certainly helped.
“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” – Anthony Burgess
The following day, I told a colleague all about the accommodations from the night before. He cocked his head and asked why I didn’t complain about the room to the hotel management. I should have, in his opinion, been given an alternate room, or at least be charged less for the experience. I suppose he was right. He should know, after all, his job takes him on the road at least five to ten times more than mine.
“Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else’s fairy tale.” – Wade Ayeni
Why hadn’t I complained?
Like most people, I do tend to indulge in a bit of self-reflection at the beginning of the year, and this year has been no exception. And yet, I still haven’t completely figured out the answer. Was I silent because I feared confrontation after a long travel day? Was it because I am female, and if studies are to be believed, biologically conditioned to accept pain and discomfort, provided it is only temporary? Was it my sense of self-reliance? I had gloves and a coat in the room, why make the fix someone else’s responsibility when I can do it myself?
Or… and this thought gave me great pause… after working on improving my outlook for so long, have I managed to finally recondition my brain into truly accepting what life throws at me – the bad as well as the good?
“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” – Michael J. Fox
Could it be that this blog, my personal happiness project, is no longer necessary? Have I then finally achieved a zen-like state of being?
Nah. That’s most assuredly not it. After all, it’s January…
…but it won’t be for much longer.