How a freak-out led to an unexpected realization

I always carry around a thumbdrive. On it I save PDF’s I downloaded during my lunch break that I want to read later.

Every day when I leave work, I grab my thumbdrive from my computer, and plug it into my laptop on my train ride to write.

Yesterday I was late to the train. I grabbed my drive in a hurry and stuffed it in my coat pocket.

When I got to the train, pulled out the laptop, and searched my pockets, I gasped…

You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength - Marcus AureliusI couldn’t find it anymore!

A million thoughts raced through my head…

What if it just fell out of my coat pocket when I pulled out my phone?

Did I have everything backed up for my website?

What other important stuff was on there that I hadn’t backed up?

Darn it, I knew I shouldn’t have put it into my coat pocket!

Some more negative than others…

I’m such a loser, I always do these kinds of things!

I lose everything!

We were, in the meantime, already at the next stop. After this stop, the train was going to turn into an express for half an hour.

Buh-bye thumb drive, and important work. Hello sad, sad Laura.

In a frenzy, I packed up my laptop and jumped out of the train. I stood on the platform for a minute, then slapped myself sane, and jumped back into the train, realizing that going back to look for it would mean losing the next train and having to wait for an hour.

Not worth it.

I decided I would just have to remember all that I had written. Hey, maybe it would come out better the second time.

Back into the train I go.

A minute after I sat down, while scurrying through my pockets one last time, my hand finally touched the holy grail flash drive. I released a deep breath, and looked around in amusement. Had anyone else noticed what a goofball I had been?

I thought I would be embarrassed, but what I really wanted was to share my hilarious and exciting adventure with the people around.

Around me, everyone is minding their own business, on their smartphones, with headphones in their ears… it was a gloomy bunch. They apparently hadn’t noticed a thing.

As the controller (who had witnessed my entire “adventure” with a stern look on his face) passed by to check our tickets, I attempted to lighten up the mood night by telling him, in a happy chirpy voice, that I apologize for jumping on and off the train like that, but y’know, I had just lost my thumbdrive, and thought I had lost important stuff… but I found it! (cue big grin).

No muscle moved on his face. He didn’t stop or even acknowledge the fact that I was talking to him. He just checked my ticket and moved on. While I was still speaking.

Wait, what? Mister, come back, I wasn’t done, and I wanted a smile!

I felt pretty bad for a second or two, I gotta admit.

Everyone around me had this grim look on their face, they were all looking into their phones.

Did I miss the zombie apocalypse?

Maybe it was the lingering feeling of amusement over my freak-out, but I didn’t stick too long with self-defeating thoughts. Another feeling came over me, one that was so much stronger.

I started feeling sorry for them, in a genuinely caring and compassionate way.

All of these people weren’t ignoring me because I’m such a wacky gal and I have so many issues my “crazy!” neon sign is constantly on. They were sad and gloomy because they had so many problems that they had trouble dealing with. On their faces I read weariness, physical, yes, but especially spiritual. There was no smile, no radiance, no joy going around.

I wanted to pick everyone up, shake them by their shoulders, and give them a pep talk. I wanted to tell them that problems can be turned into opportunities, and that if they want to be happy they must turn them into opportunities for growth. I wanted to show them how they can be happy right now.

But I didn’t do that. I didn’t do it, probably because it is a whole new level of crazy I haven’t worked my way up to yet.

Instead, I put out all of the positive energy in the room that I could. And I wished each of them, deep in my heart, a world of happiness, and the courage to take their problems and turn them into opportunities. I prayed that they get the foresight necessary to believe in themselves, and seek to constantly improve. I hoped that they stumble upon the right person, or the right book, or the right resource at the right time, and start turning their lives around. And I wished each and every one of them the happiest life they can make for themselves.

I wish I could have talked to all those people, to show them how amazing they truly are, to remind them that they only live once and that they must make every moment matter.

I wish I had had the chance to prod them to dig deep into their souls and remove their self-defeating beliefs, and the opportunity to help them see what a world of opportunity they have waiting for them, if only they reach out for it.

Instead of making a clown out of myself in a train car, I am passing this along: When you’re feeling sad and weary, look around and see how many other people are feeling the same way. And remember that we all make that choice.

Most importantly, we can live in the moment, and accept things as they are. We can let go of anger and fear and realize that the moment we are still upset over has passed long ago.

As difficult as that may be to accept, we are the ones keeping ourselves upset, sad, and weary.

Did you ever have an apparently insignificant moment that turned your awareness from yourself to others? Share your story!