My car broke down on Friday. I had a hint there was something not quite right when I drove to pick up the kids from school. After a quick play in the local park, I tried to start the car…. and nothing… it was as dead as a Dodo.
When I tell people about it, I am met with sympathetic noises and phrases such as ‘what a nightmare’ and ‘what a horrible start to the weekend’. And I appreciate their concern.
But it really wasn’t a nightmare, or horrible. It was a minor inconvenience.
It got me thinking about how I might have approached the situation a few years ago. I probably would have thought it was a ‘nightmare’ and been incredibly p#ssed off about the disruption to the start of my weekend.
But looking at it from a different perspective:
I am SO grateful that the car broke down at the school gates, less than a mile from home. Over the summer we drove nearly 3,500 miles. Less than a mile from home is a pretty good place to break down.
I am and my children are fit and healthy enough to walk the short distance home.
I have AA cover and so could easily get somebody to come out and diagnose the problem.
And as a sidenote…. My AA cover came up for renewal at the end of August, it was only then that I noticed that while I was covered to drive any car my husband wasn’t listed at all (ooops!). I switched the cover (two weeks ago) so that the car was covered regardless of who was driving it.
I came home, fed the kids, unpacked my online shopping delivery, answered some emails, put the kids to bed and when my husband got home from work he called the AA and went back to retrieve the car.
My car had broken down and I still had the groceries I needed to make Friday night dinner and my kids were tucked up in their own bed. If ever there was a case for the hashtag #firstworldproblem I suspect this is it!
The car only needed a relatively minor and inexpensive fix. The battery was flat. We had the financial means to pay for a new battery right there and then. If it needed more substantial work done then we would have had the ability to raise the finances one way or another.
In total the whole situation probably cost us about 90 minutes of our weekend and £120.
So my challenge to you is the next time you are met with situation that feels like a mountain that needs to be climbed, take a moment to stop, take a breath and decide how you are going to respond.
Is it perhaps not a mountain after all?
Could it be a molehill that you can quickly brush to one side and carry on with a smooth path ahead?
P.S. Now thinking a pet mole could be quite good fun!
P.P.S. The mental show reel that has been running through my head for the past few days has been the Commercial Union ad from the 1980s ‘We Don’t Make a Drama Out of a Crisis’. They don’t make adverts like that any more!