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The Ebola Rule

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I just spent $1000 on a new water heater. Yay! Not.

Yesterday I slept in because I was exhausted. By the time I willed myself to get up and take a shower, there was no hot water. Which was puzzling, because I live by myself and I’m pretty sure I didn’t use any hot water in my sleep. So I had to take a cold shower–which is probably not a big deal to all of you rugged, outdoor types who do stuff like bathe in rivers, but it is to me.

In order to put a stop to the part of me that was whining about how I’m being punished for sleeping in by having to take a cold shower, I reminded myself that it’s not like I have the ebola virus. I know Richard Carlson’s immensely popular self-help book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff claims that it’s all small stuff, but that’s not true. Ebola is a big deal. But in his defense, I don’t think he knew about ebola back then.

By the time I got home last night, I was hoping that the hot water problem miraculously resolved itself, but it did not. So I looked at my water heater and saw that it was leaking, which was probably not a good thing. But since I know nothing about water heaters, I called my ex, my neighbor, and my brother just to make sure, and woke up at least one of them in the process. Which I kind of feel bad about, but who goes to bed at 9:30? My ex, that’s who.

So then I was hoping that it was going to be some simple solution like flip this switch or turn this knob and it will all be OK. But no. I had to get a new hot water heater, plus a few other adjustments that are required by law. Something about having the gas line at least 18 inches from the pilot light. Which the plumber wasn’t able to do because of how they built the space. I wasn’t really listening that closely because then I would obsess about how I could have died in a gas explosion all this time.

Because I obsess about not having enough money for emergencies, I reminded myself of the ebola rule again while I was writing the check. I have refined it a bit since yesterday. It goes something like this:

Step 1: Do you have ebola?

If Yes: Oh my gosh! You are so screwed! Get to the hospital!

If No: Get over it and pay the man $1000.

So that’s what I did.

I realize that this may not seem like a deep and meaningful post to many of you, but the ebola rule helped me to put this little inconvenience into perspective, so it was kind of an epiphany for me.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

3 responses »

  1. Putting things in perspective is really key. Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Turning Pain into Posts | Normal in Training

  3. Pingback: The Gift of Compassion | Normal in Training

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