The Small Stuff
You’ve heard the phrase ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’, right? It’s the title of a book, and has become a classic ‘inspirational’ platitude along with ‘Carpe Diem’, adorning walls up and down the length of the country. It may have become overused to the point of entirely losing its value, but there is merit in the theory of not letting tiny things take over your life.
I think it is much more nuanced than the over-ripe trope might suggest and I found myself in a situation a few days ago, where a small thing had the potential to cause big problems. Meet the little red fuse.
I am very fortunate to have a rather lovely Land Rover that I absolutely adore. On this particular occasion, I turned the ignition key and with an exhausted wheeze, the windscreen wipers came up to a vertical position and froze. I tried the windscreen washer… nothing.
Now this might sound all very mundane, but it was the implication that is important here. I was due to go, with my wife, for a much needed holiday the following day. In the Land Rover. No windscreen wipers, no vehicle, no holiday. It made me feel somewhat sick that we wouldn’t be able to go, given that we had booked and paid for our various bits of accommodation. We would have been left out of pocket quite considerably, which is one thing, but the disappointment and frustration at not being able to take our hard-earned break? Potentially huge… and I hadn’t even got close to telling her yet!
I was sweating the big stuff!
My practical side kicked in, time to find a solution. Would a local garage be able to help me out in time, especially if parts were required? Probably not. Hang on, let’s get logical about this. Everything else seemed to be working fine. It was just the wipers and the windscreen washer – surely part of the same thing, yeah? That’s when I started looking up fuse box diagrams for the make, model and year of my vehicle. A quick swap out and hey presto! The wipers went back to their normal position and worked beautifully. That little red fuse was the small stuff. Small stuff that had big stuff implications!
We can’t worry about every fuse in life. Fuses can be changed. Panic and worry cause so much trouble!
It reminded me to try and keep a hold of my version of a mantra that originates back to the 8th century, from Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara, or “Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.” My version goes something like this…
“What are you worried about?”
“Can you fix or change it?”
“Yes? What’s the point in worrying about it?”
“No? What’s the point in worrying about it?”
Small stuff can cause big problems, worry or panic solves nothing. Try not to sweat any stuff.