Every uncomfortable situation has a “plus side”

Columnist and Columnist

It’s the first day of class and I’m on my merry way from Harshman to Olscamp.

My scarf is secure and my high tops are laced to perfection. I’ve not a care in the world right now.

Then it happens.

My sock starts to slide ever so slowly down my heel.

And I am powerless to stop it.

With every step I am all-too aware of that sock encroaching farther and farther down my heel until I am in no way wearing a sock anymore.

The only thing occupying my mind for the remainder of my cross-campus trek is the awkward difference in the steps of my feet.

I tell myself that I can fix it as soon as I’m inside the building where it’s warm and I can sit down, but that never happens.

There are people everywhere inside that building. And no part of me wants to take my shoe off in front of them.

My feet don’t especially reek and they aren’t deformed, but the whole process of returning my sock to its appropriate place would just feel too strange in such an academic milieu.

So what do I do? I walk around for the rest of the day wearing one and half socks.

And I never, not for a single moment, stop thinking about it.

It’s such a trivial thing to obsess over, but I can’t help it. It’s always the little, insignificant things that irritate me the most.

Paper cuts and hang nails.

Mediocre grammar and skinny jeans.

Frames that hang crooked and chalkboards that aren’t thoroughly erased.

Things that I should be able to ignore.

Subcutaneous hematomas don’t bother me. Nor does broken English or catastrophically disorganized rooms.

Blatant disarrays and debacles are of no concern to me.

But subtle imperfections won’t loosen their tight-hold.

What ever am I to do?

I’m sure if you’ve managed to make it this far into the article, you assume that I have some sort of advice to give or call to action on this topic.

But I don’t really have anything to offer except my own experiences, which are most likely very similar to yours.

The best way I have found to deal with these problems is to focus on the positive side and on the controllable.

An inspirational speaker by the name of Zig Ziglar asserts that controlling the controllable is an important rule to follow for success, and it’s something I have attempted to do since I first learned of this rule four years ago in high school health class.

As for thinking positively? I usually need other people for that, people who usually turn out to be my roommate.

“I made an idiot of myself today,” I’ll say.

“On the plus side,” she’ll say, “the room smells decent.”

And it works both ways, which is nice.

Sunday, my roommate rushed into the room with arm loads of her junk and exclaimed that she was parked in the fire lane.

“On the plus side,” I told her, ” you look like a rockstar today.”

What I am trying to get at is this: if you don’t have someone that points out “the plus side” for you, you need to turn someone into that person as soon as possible.

Because sometimes the most entertaining part of my day is hearing what follows the phrase “on the plus side.”

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