Eat a Frog

On a recent a rainy Monday morning, I was woken by the worst stink ever. It was if someone had hit me with the smell.  Immediately, I was sure that our sewer system, or that of our neighbor’s, had busted, broken, backed up. The stench only worsened with each minute and I couldn’t get out of bed fast enough, with a   “the- judges-would-surely-give-me-a-10!” bolt out of bed.  I have mentioned that I am not a morning, person, yes?

I ran out of the room into other parts of the house, to escape and of course, ask if anyone else could smell that awful smell. No, they couldn’t.

In utter disbelief, I checked both bathrooms, and then looked out the window to see if the neighbors had called a plumber. I was convinced I would find a utility truck of some kind out front. Surely, something was terribly wrong and without stopping to think, I was envisioning missing an entire day of work to deal with this mess, dollar signs dancing in my mind, imagining the cost of a plumber and any repairs, not to mention just the, well, the awful mess of it. In earlier years, when sharing a house with a roommate, something like this happened, and let’s just say, I had a visual on what was possible. Dashing around the house, my mind ran away with the problem faster than a speeding train; I was rearranging my day at work, trying to figure what meetings I could reschedule, who to call first, etc.

Not able to locate the source of this problem, I turned my energies toward getting my coffee {priorities}, getting my son’s lunch fixed {necessity} and then getting ready for work {duty}; still certain I had a major bummer of  a day on my immediate horizon. As I went into my bathroom, the stench hit me all over again. It was then, and only then, that I noticed.

With the first rain of the season, our backyard had become a sopping mess, and the two fur kids were apparently a bit confused and well, just not ready for the sudden change in our season. My sweet sweet little kitty [the same one who likes to sleep ever so near to me] had apparently decided to make the room that houses my commode her humble abode and the place to do her ‘business’ this fine Monday morning.

Locating the source of the stinky stench, all I could do was laugh. I realized that I had turned a small pile into a mountain of trouble without even getting to five minutes.  Clean up easy, stench was gone and the day back on track, mine again and no one the wiser and my wallet not emptied.

As I drove to work, after a stop for another cup of coffee of course,  I realized that the day ahead seemed so easy after that near debacle.   Just about anything after that would certainly feel easier.

And it got me thinking about expectations; if we assume things will be difficult, won’t they?

Later that morning, I was in one of my meetings, with a student who had requested the meeting to tell me that she’s moving on to an internship and will no longer be on my leadership team come next semester. She confided that she was nervous about telling me, and that she was trying to find a way to let me down easy.  And when I happily supported her decision, she realized she had been expecting a negative reaction from me, sure that I would be upset, angry even, and perhaps, worse, disappointed in her. When she realized that my reaction was not what she thought, and in fact quite the opposite, she said it reminded her of this quote:

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

– Mark Twain.

So, then I had to tell her about my stinky morning escapades and we laughed at the shared experience of assuming the worst.

I remembered that in the last few weeks, on more than one occasion, someone came into my office and said, “I have a bomb to drop” or “I am sorry to tell you this”  followed up with, “do you have a minute?” My head swirling with all possible bombs – budget, jobs, health issues, all the really big stuff. In each case though, the issue they brought to me was so minor – so easily dealt with –  compared to what my mind had conjured in just mere seconds.

Expectations can have great control over us, sometimes even without our full knowledge that they are at work in our internal processing. We can jump to conclusions in mere seconds, and begin forming our reactions to the situation of which we really know very little, or perhaps, really, nothing at all.

Sometimes this works in the direction where the outcome is a sigh of relief and the feeling that we can handle whatever may come our way.

Sometimes it works in a different direction, where the outcome is a sharp feeling of disappointment, and the idea that things never go our way.

And, sometimes, it just might work best if we focus on the moment and suspend our expectations altogether, allowing what is come to just arrive as it does.

Some say to have high expectations, and good things will follow; how do you balance your own expectations when things go in a way different than what you expected?

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30 thoughts on “Eat a Frog

  1. oh man bons, i am SO glad it was a mark twain quote. i really thought stewart was going to have eaten a frog and having, shall we say, difficulties digesting. ugh. once my sister’s dog ate a frog in front of all of us at her lobster bake, started to choke and then threw it back up and it hopped away. no lie. sorry, it was just the frog quote that got me going.

    and yes, i totally agree. lump worry in there with assuming the worst. because damn if worry never changes the situation that you’re worried about, and simply makes you sick.

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  2. Oh BonBon, I’ve so missed your wisdom and sharing the lessons of everyday life. I soooo needed to read this as I am infamous for ‘already knowing the outcome’ (in my head of course) before the problem is even presented. I am in this very situation as we speak, and between you and Mark Twain (and Edison) you’ve turned on the light. I’ve missed you girlfriend and need some Bonnie time. xoxo

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  3. I always expect the worst and hope for the best. I’ve tried to stop jumping to conclusions but… well… thats just me…
    I really like the ‘kiss the frog quote’

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  4. Not that I “like” your recent brush with stinkiness … but you know what I mean! Wanted to somehow express my appreciation for your outlook, my friend. 🙂

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  5. Haha – no joke: that quote is why I always do the dishes in the morning. I despise washing dishes and I always get it out of the way before making my coffee (reward system). Of course, washing dishes isn’t always the WORST part of my day. But I identify with the cathartic experience of overcoming something negative early on.

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    • Good application of this quote! I hadn’t thought of it in that exact way, but what a great way to think about it, getting those pesky chores out of the way, or actively getting the negative things taken care of so they don’t burden you the rest of the day!

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  6. Don’t hate me that I was expecting to hear that your cat had dropped a frog in your mouth while you slept. 🙂 This is a great saying and wonderful post! (I have witnessed the foaming of the mouth when my pup eats frogs….not pretty!) So what do I get from your lovely words???? Hope. Thanks for giving me hope today, my friend ♥

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  7. Oh, dear Bonnie, you nailed this one! I am so guilty of this sort of thing, in fact (quite embarrassingly) I am very adept at working myself into one heck of a lather in just minutes sometimes. :-). My mother used to tell me as a child that 90% of my worries were unfounded. She was usually right. Thx for the morning giggle and perspective, and for the wonderful Mark Twain quote! Have a great day and don’t worry, be happy. 🙂

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    • Lori, so good to know I am in great company -even if it means that you have to relate to this craziness! But let’s drop the embarrassingly part, ok? I think we are all in the same boat on this one. The Mark Twain quote was new to me also and it’s a very good way to keep perspective! I hope your day was worry free! xo

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  8. One of your best (although I realize that every post you write is one of your best)…It is really amazing how many places our minds can go with reckless abandon (I compare it to a pinball in play). And equally amazing how quickly we can be reminded that all of our conjecture often has nothing to do with the reality. Something you and I should hold onto these days my dear friend…love you, m

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    • Yes..something we should both hold onto,excellent point and well taken. It really is amazing how our minds get the better of us sometimes without our even realizing it is happening! I love the pinball analogy – the ball spinning and bumping and causing all sorts of actions and reactions….love you toom xoxo

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  9. This is wonderful, Bonnie! Its amazing when you imagine the worst possible scenario only to find it’s easily fixed. I absolutely love the Mark Twain quote – so true!

    I tend to react when I don’t know what’s going on and my husband says “it’s the writer in you that worries about every possible scenario”. I find this statement really annoying – but I would never admit to him that he’s probably right 😉

    Great post! 😀

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