From April showers to May flowers

So the last week has been incredibly busy but I’ve got a much improved outlook on life. I was in DC for the last few days, and it was an exhausting, but very rewarding trip. Throw in a barbecue, a visit to my terrific parents, and a few accomplishments at work, and I am riding pretty high!

Washington, DC is a great town. I was there my summer after freshman year as an intern for Senator Pete Domenici (NM). I loved it so much I went back my sophomore summer, and took any old job, just so I could be back in the city! This was the second time I’ve been back since then. It has changed a lot, and I had a blast. We then took the long train ride (but not long enough that a flight is more convenient) back up to New York and had a championship barbecue. Then it was off to the races – the drinking races that is. Guess what? Everybody won!

I am very much a believer that positive and negative energy of people around me has a profound impact, and my experience yesterday reinforced that belief. Here is what happened:

It being Mother’s Day yesterday, I was in a flower shop in Chelsea’s Flower District picking out an arrangement for my Mom. Of course she was going to love it and then immediately scold me for spending any money on her, but it makes me happy too, so I do it anyway.

Back to the flower shop. Obviously it was very busy there, and I patiently waited for one of the staff to free up so I could get some help picking flowers, since its not my forte. The girl waiting in line behind me, however, was anxious and fidgety, sighing loudly and muttering under her breath as to the slow service. When I finally was up to bat, she actually interrupted the employee and me and asked “Are you the only person working here?,” to which the employee answered politely but firmly, “No, there are others working here, but we are very busy, and if you cannot wait then I am sorry.” In other words, wait your turn or leave. The customer responded by huffing and puffing, saying “You didn’t answer my question,” etc., but the message was clear. Turns out the employee wasn’t an ordinary employee, but the wife of the owner, and she wasn’t taking crap from anybody. And I don’t blame her one bit for replying like that.

But the effect was immediate. On what should have been a happy day, anxiety and stress had won out, and gloom had entered like a fog. What bothered the employees (I’m sure) was that they were working hard and it was thankless. So I opened up with the assistant handling my arrangement by joking “Slow day, huh?” It lightened her mood and the other employee next to her. I continued about how I was surprised that it was so stressful here since it was a beautiful day and we were picking out beautiful flowers – and what could be stressful about that? I was kind and helped out the owner by handing her a box when everyone else was clearly occupied. I talked flowers and showed genuine interest in the arranger and her profession. The gestures worked, and suddenly everyone was in a better mood. Even the unhappy customer, who was within earshot, was calmer and was no longer acting annoyed (or annoying). Probably because even she knew any outward exhibition of her bad attitude would be amplified by my kind one.

In any case, I believe deeply that a rising tide lifts all ships, and even more reliably, a falling tide lowers them. I’ve had incessantly negative people in my life and learned that ultimately the only way is to let them go. I even believe that even when you are depressed, if you can trick yourself long enough into believing that you aren’t, you can squeak by just long enough for things to actually change for the better. And just as often, the perception becomes reality. Positive people are absolutely essential for my well-being.

What are your thoughts?

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