Why Do Things Break at the Most Inconvenient Time?

I know the title is a rhetorical question. Yet, it is one to which everyone reading this can likely relate. 

Maybe your car went on the fritz in the middle of a trip. Or, maybe an oven or refrigerator went on the brink in the midst of hosting a dinner party. Or, maybe you had a plumbing problem, just as you were leaving the house. Or, perhaps like me, your computer stopped working without any forewarning. 

Literally, ten minutes after a presentation, whilst having a post event huddle with the host, my laptop shutdown. It wouldn’t power on no matter what I did. As I was sharing my tech woes with a friend afterward, he said, “nothing ever breaks at a convenient time.” Geez…ain’t that the truth!

And my trip to the Apple store seeking answers (do I need to replace the battery or the laptop?) was less than satisfying. Understandably so, COVID measures have changed the landscape of much – including how to resolve tech issues. But unbeknownst to me, walk-ins aren’t allowed in any Apple store for tech support or sales! You have to make an appointment.

Now, on the good, let me count my blessings side of things, at least my laptop didn’t crash during any of last week’s presentations (I had three), or during a podcast interview for which I was the guest. And, I am completing the draft of this, which I started yesterday on paper, from my laptop with a new battery…yay! These are all silver linings, and I am grateful. 

Murphy’s or Sod’s Law?

But, my laptop fiasco feels so on brand for…2020! 

I am wary of saying the adage, “Anything that can go wrong will.” Because it feels too pessimistic to me. 

Yet, 2020 is the year when almost everything feels (especially) fragile.

Even though there are probably other years for which this sentiment may apply. 

However, this is the year when:

  • Everyone’s plans got interrupted
  • Everyone had to recalibrate and adjust to some “new” aspect of their life. Including, perhaps, making tweaks to their wants, expectations and the timeline for anticipated results.

Speaking of, the holiday season is here. 

The Holidays Are Here

Yesterday was the first day of Diwali. If you celebrate, Happy Diwali to you and yours.

In a little over a week is the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, followed by Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s. However, for most people, none of these will be celebrated this year as in years past.

I know this is true for me. Just this week, I made peace with the fact that I won’t be hosting Thanksgiving or celebrating my birthday the way I like. 

COVID and the ripple effects thereof have required major shifts and introduced some complicated questions and choices about a number of things related to how you and I live, work, socialize, and celebrate meaningful moments – including holidays. 

2020 has not been easy for any of us. For others, it’s come with tremendous loss. 

As we reach nine months of living in quarantine and begin the holiday season, what’s bubbling up for you? How are you dealing with the inconveniences, the interruptions, the need to calibrate and adjust? 

Where are you looking for ease, and not finding it? Where are you seeking peace, and not experiencing it? 

I Wish…

I wish I could tie this post up with a nice, neat bow. Likewise, I wish I could offer an answer to the question posed in the title without sounding pollyannaish. But, I cannot. 

Life is complex. 

And despite the best efforts at planning and preparations, stuff will happen; sh*t will break. Usually at the most inconvenient time.

In the grand scheme of things, my laptop was a 24-hour inconvenience. But nothing about getting it resolved was quick or easy. At least not as compared to what would have been the process pre-March 12. 

To my own surprise, I was calm yesterday. (If you know me and anything tech related, that was HUGE!). I kicked into methodical mode, making plans B and C if I couldn’t get the matter addressed speedily. This didn’t stop me, though, from having “all the feels,” which got me to thinking about the notion of fragility, peace, ease, and of letting go.

And yes, to thinking of you

To thinking of how you may be feeling fragile right now because you’re at your wits end; or how you may be wanting peace and ease, but feeling like it’s just outside your grasp; or how you may be having a hard time of letting go of what once was – and won’t be this year. Yes, I’m thinking of you in this way even if we’ve never connected beyond this screen.

I wholeheartedly believe it is important to count one’s blessings and pay attention to what is going and has gone well. But there’s no getting around this, no matter how much you focus on the good: 2020 has not been an easy year

So…

If you’re really feeling the weight of disappointment right now because 2020 has caused some inconveniences, I feel you. (Said in Omar’s voice from “The Wire.”)

If you’re upset right now because 2020 has paused your holiday traditions, I’m with you. 

If you’re like, “it’s been nine months already, when it is going to end?!” I get that, too. I really, really do.

The purpose of this piece is to remind you to give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling. And to remind you, you’re not alone. 

When things break and you are frustrated, you may feel like whatever is going on is happening only to you. It may be true at that moment…but it is only at the moment. Someone else has experienced something similar – or will. 

Also, when things break, regardless of why, remember what my friend told me, “nothing ever breaks at a convenient time.” I hope keeping this mind helps you as much as it did me.

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