Yesterday I locked myself out of my apartment. Not the best time. I spent three hours locked outside without a phone, money, labtop—any form of communication whatsoever.
I locked myself out because I was too lazy to make my own coffee. That’s the whole story. With precisely twenty minutes to kill before my running group, I grabbed my wallet and keys, ran downstairs to the coffee shop, and ordered a tall one to go.
“But Kara, you just said you were locked outside without keys or money. How did you…?” You’re right. I did say that.
I have this weird habit of running my errands. Not running errands, running-my-errands. It makes me feel efficient. The night before, I tucked my apartment key and credit card into my sports bra, then looped a few miles before ending at the grocery store.
When I opened my wallet to pay for my coffee the next morning, I realized three things: One, my buy-ten-get-one-free punch card was ready to be used up. Score, free coffee. Two, my Discover card was upstairs on my dresser; which meant three, if I left my credit card, I also left my….
I looked at my key ring, then up at the barista. “I just went from having a really great morning, to a really, really bad morning.”
This is not the worst day of your life.
I am sure you have a story similar to the one above. A time when you forgot your keys on the counter, wallet at home, phone in a taxi, or ID in your checked luggage while boarding a flight; a story where you left your keys in the ignition with the engine running, left your overhead lights on until that engine died, or the entire vehicle in an illegal space on street-cleaning day.
We all have those days. I’m sure you stand there asking yourself, “Why me? Why is it always me?” each and every time it happens. If you won’t admit it, I sure a hell will. I mutter all of the above, and follow-up with a nice, “This is LITERALLY the worst thing that could happen.”
No, it’s not. It is not the worst thing that can happen. If you are reading this, then you have a computer, iPad, or smartphone in your possession and therefore you are better off than eighty percent of the worldwide population. So before you go off cursing humanity (of which you reside in the privileged twenty percent) ask yourself these four questions.
Am I healthy?
Are you breathing? Are there any open wounds on your body? Are your bones intact? Are those bones connected to one another? Yes-no-yes-yes? Great. You are an alive, full-bodied, capable human.
At one point yesterday, I was standing on a bar rooftop debating if I could make it to the next rooftop, about three feet away. The construction workers on that second rooftop were convinced I could make it.
I didn’t attempt it. But it’s nice to think the option was there, and I was physically capable of doing it.
People in far worse shape than you have staggered, stumbled, and Army-crawled to seek help. Therefore, it is not the worst day in the world if you have to walk upright to a stranger and ask to borrow their phone.
Am I happy?
Ok, you’re probably not happy now, considering your gas light is on E and the keys are locked inside the ignition. To prevent a skewed response, modify this question to ask if you were happy yesterday.
Do you see your friends at least once a week? Can you laugh at terrible dad jokes? Do you have hobbies and interests, even if there is absolutely zero overlap with said interests and your day job?
If you answered yes to the above questions, you are happy enough. If you’re not, unlocking your car will not make you happier. I promise.
Do I have a support system?
My support system came out of the woodwork yesterday. First, I had the construction crew try coaxing me through the rooftop labyrinth. A group of homeless people offered to “give me a boost” to my fire escape. My friend Keena fed and clothed me because I was out in the rain for three hours. The philanthropy.
You might not have a neighborhood standing with you (be grateful for that—it really was a scene), but you must have a sibling, coworker, friend, or coach who has your back. If nothing else, your parents, presumably, think you are a special snowflake and will always be there for you. [It’s not lame when you’re an adult—your parents forego all obligations to like you after you hit eighteen.]
Is this really the worst thing that could happen?
I highly, highly doubt the answer is yes. The worst thing that could happen is your car bursts into flames. The worst thing that could happen is you don’t have your wallet because you got mugged. The worst thing that could happen is your car gets towed, impounded, and crushed into a square-foot cube of tin foil.
The worst thing that could have happened to me yesterday is the roof collapsing, me falling through the roof onto the bar itself, breaking a thousand whiskey bottles in the process, getting a thousand stitches, getting sued by the bar owners for tens of thousands of dollars worth of damages, and getting evicted from my apartment. That is the worst day I can imagine.
You are a healthy, happy, loved human being; and whatever storm is currently shitting on you will surely pass. Be grateful for your life, your loves, cellphones, 911, and the availability of locksmiths on Sundays.
It’s a great day. Go enjoy it.