I love surprises. I’m like a little kid that way, always delighted when something unexpected appears from around the corner. And I’ve had a lot of surprises lately, mostly because I just celebrated my 55th birthday.
My favorite surprise was the afternoon my husband announced that he was taking me someplace I’ve wanted to go for a long time. Of course, my imagination went wild. Was he taking me to Hawaii? To Paris? I knew he couldn’t afford either of those destinations, though. Plus, he hadn’t told me to pack.
I got in his car and was delighted when he drove me just a few blocks up the street to Zen Dog Tea Gallery. We’ve been driving by it for years, and every time I saw the red lanterns in front, I’d say, “I want to go in there someday.” So that afternoon we finally did go in. and it was absolutely magical. Beautiful artwork adorned the walls, and the atmosphere exuded peace. Zen Dog (or Z.D., as the regulars call him) served us our Rose and Plum tea in tiny porcelain cups on a table made from a tree stump. It was an afternoon I’ll never forget.
But not every surprise I’ve had recently has been good. In fact, just one day before our tea date, I got some incredibly disappointing news. I can’t share it with you right now, but take my word for it when I say that for a few days, I felt like my world was falling apart. My birthday provided a nice distraction, but I’m still reeling from the blow I received.
Good surprises are wonderful, but how do you handle it when life drops an unexpected bomb on your head? Here’s what I’ve been doing to get through this tough time:
Allow grief: At first, I just let myself fall apart. I cried, I railed, I threw things. I knew that I’d get through this faster if I felt the feelings instead of pushing them away.
Find distractions: As I said, celebrating my birthday provided a great distraction. I really lived it up. I went to the spa, had a pedicure, went out for tea and dinner, went to a concert and a play. All these things reminded me that in spite of disappointment, my life can still be full of joy.
Make a plan: Now that the grief has dissipated somewhat and my birthday extravaganza is over, I’m cooking up a plan to move forward. Nothing feels better than positive action.
Put it in perspective: I’ve been imagining reading my bio ten years from now, and realizing that what currently seems like a disaster is only a bump in the road.
Has life handed you any difficult surprises lately? How did you cope?