It's not yet noon and I've been having one of those mornings that defines having a bad day.
Because I was intending to take my son's car to the shop for service following my morning swim, I grabbed his key and what I thought was a house key on my way out the door this morning. I didn't take my mobile phone, thinking I wouldn't need it.
I noticed when I got to the gym that in my rush to get out the door, I'd not picked up a house key but my son's extra car key. This would not have been a problem had the outside device for my garage's remote control been working. It wasn't because I hadn't bothered to get it fixed.
I called my neighbor (who keeps an extra key for when I'm out of town) from a lifeguard's phone on the chance she was still home. No dice. Maybe I'd left a front window unlocked so I could break into the house through one of the windows facing my front porch? Nope.
Next, I made the 40 minute round trip drive to my mother's house since I knew she had a key to my place. Except when I got home, I found out she'd given me the wrong one.
I finally remembered there was a ladder under the deck that I could use to enter an open window one side of the house. Finally, success!
Wait -- there's more.
As I was walking back up the drive after putting the ladder away, I saw my son's car rolling down the driveway towards me. I couldn't stop it before it ran into the back yard and (thankfully) came to a stop just shy of the shed, whose low stone wall had stopped it before it could cause any damage.
I had to stop and just breathe for a couple of minutes after that. Sometimes, that's all you can do.
Even before the car came rolling down the driveway, I knew that my inattentiveness in combination with a tendency to put off dealing with things as they arise had combined to create a perfect storm of unpleasantness. At other times in my life, such a series of events would have put me in a funk for the whole day.
Instead, I took this for the lesson in mindfulness I obviously needed. Mindfulness can be described as full-minded awareness, paying conscious and purposeful attention to what you're doing from moment to moment.
It's easy to go into automatic pilot and unconsciously go through daily routines. Maybe you're tired or stressed out from work or personal issues, and you just aren't really "there."
Recognizing I was having a problem with being fully present, I made myself slow down and consciously consider what I was doing next, and next and next. I got the car delivered to the shop without further incident, and back home safe and sound. I called the company that installed my garage door opener, where they told me I likely just needed a new battery for the outside fixture and talked me through how to install it.
And I have an extra house key I'll put in my son's car, just in case something like this happens again.