Monday, December 10, 2012

Was That Rant Worth 15 Minutes of Your Life?

Recently, I was sitting in a coffee shop sipping my brew and gathering my thoughts when the conversation at the next table caught my ear. I couldn't help but listen - the volume kept rising.

One of the women at the table was unhappy with her order. She was going to call the corporate offices, post scathing posts on one of her social media sites, and vowed never to come there again.  The other women at the table, who appeared to be her sister and her mom, joined in her lament, fueling the already irritated woman.  On and on they went.  The volume continues to rise. The rant reached a fevered and frenzied pitch.  Truly, you'd have thought that there was possibly nothing worse that could have happened to these women by the way the rant went on.

I could take it no more.

I got up an moved seats to the other side of the shop, but they seemed to get even louder. I could feel my own anger and irritation welling up inside- not at the supposed "wrong" that had been done to them. While these women ranted on and on, louder and louder, disrupting everyone over being charged $1.50 for added bacon on an order, I was sitting in the same space, collecting thoughts and writing notes for the eulogy I was giving at my sister's funeral.  My heart was breaking and they were upset over breakfast meat.  How little were they?

How could these women put so much energy into a 15 minute rant over bacon? Didn't they know that in the scheme of life, that it truly meant absolutely nothing? Did they not know that they could never get those 15 minutes back, nor could the people that heard them ranting?

My heart actually hurt at the shallowness of their griping.  I truly wished for them that the great bacon swindle was the worst thing that would happen to them that day.  In their griping, they lost out on 15 minutes that  they could be sharing joy, 15 minutes of time with each other, 15 minutes of building something up instead of breaking something down.  How could they not see what a waste it was of time as I was sitting there wishing for more time with my loved one?

Like a cup of water in the face, I had a realization.  Often, I had acted the same way as those women.

In my lifetime, I had probably wasted countless hours ranting on meaningless things. I make mountains out of molehills, wars out of misunderstandings, tragedies over simple little trip-ups. Sitting in traffic, waiting in long lines, feeling slighted or cheated, having my nose out of joint because of something someone said... I had done the same thing those women had done time and time again.  Maybe it wasn't over a slice of bacon, but over things that in the scheme of life were just as meaningless. Like those women, I had lost time that I could never get back over things that probably wouldn't have added any value, time, or joy to life.  People around me probably thought the same of my actions as I had of those women in the coffee shop.

I vowed then and there to be aware of my own shortfalls, my own rants, my own wasting time over things that mean nothing. I want to cherish all of the 15 minutes in life I have.

Women Enough - Check  yourselves when you find yourself angry and upset.  Assess if what you are irritated about is worth the energy you are giving it.  If it has no real impact on your day to day happiness, your immediate welfare, your future, or your overall joy in life, set the anger down.  Always ask yourself "Is this rant worth 15 minutes of my life?"

3 comments:

  1. So true that we should just breathe and not get so "in the moment" so that we can truly treasure what's important. Sure, being overcharged is irritating, but to handle it without it being a total eclipse of the heart is important!

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  2. I'll add to your plea, men as well. We do it too, you know. It really comes down to a mindset that there are important things and things that really aren't. Too often we reverse those things to our detriment.

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  3. I like this post. It echoes something i speak about in anger and energy direction. What you direct your energy and attention at is in many cases the total opposite of what you should be directing it towards. How many times do we replay in our heads arguments and disagreements we have had in the past. An argument in the office that day is replayed over and over again on the journey home. So much so that we find ourselves re wording the argument in our favour, we imagine saying things we should have said as if we did say them and rewrite the argument so that we win!!! If we directed that energy into something positive, using the time we alloted to it we would benefit a thousand times more. Stinking Thinking....great post!

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