Gratitude or Grumpiness

Last week I wrote about my unexpected challenge of trying to iron out a glitch between the Social Security System and the DMV resulting in my not having a driver’s license.  The glitch seems to elude both departments, the court system and two lawyers who have no idea how to solve the problem.  The process of dancing with the bureaucratic systems that surround me at every turn is time-consuming.  The process of conforming to the requests of civil officials is filled with lines and numbers, as well as the growing possibility for my blood pressure to climb, my stomach to growl, my head to ache and my day to devolve into sea of impatience and aggravation.  The questions are repetitive, tedious and usually down right absurd.

The amount of times I repeat myself when asked, “Have you every driven before?”, or, “Where are you living at this time?”, makes me question my own sanity.  Yet, I get up each morning and realize that today I have a chance to do it differently.  Today I have the chance to breath deeply and possibly learn something from the 24-year-old woman in a cubicle.  It is not an easy task for me.  Especially when I have “more important things to do!”, or so I tell myself.  Who am I to know if what I have to do is more important than this?

So, last week I decided to make this journey of solving the question, “What does a Gypsy do without a car?”. First I entertained a suggestion that I become an Outlaw.  I nixed that option and  I began a meditation, a yoga posture that I would truly be thankful for something, every time I pulled a number and sat in a chair with a sea of people who were in fact, pretty pissed off looking.

I started by seeing me in the huge room, waiting for my number to be called and imagining that it was a room filled with children.  I looked in each face and saw what each of us might have looked like as kids, feet dangling from the black plastic and chrome chairs, little boys in baseball caps chewing gum, little girls twirling their hair.  All of a sudden the pock-marked noses, balding heads, cranky faces and bleached hair dissolved into an ocean of cuteness.  I would smile, even laugh to myself and before I knew it my number would be up, usually in more ways than one.

And my journey has taken new roads, hit dead ends and there was a lawyer confessing in a hushed tones on the phone that sometimes there are oddities and mistakes in the law that don’t get solved and the person gets stranded and unable to do anything.  That was not only NOT comforting and  once again, made me question the purpose of the law all together.

Yet, every day one person would step up to the window or answer the phone and be real, and kind, and truly interested in my one plight in their world of complaint.  That one person would lead me to another person that might be just like her (I say her since to date I have never, ever, not once, talked to a man).  And that kindness has given me a little hope and I keep going down this windy road.

To date:  I do not have a driver’s license and there is not one in sight.

So, yesterday, as I was being chauffeured home by my daughter, we stopped at  Barnes and Noble.  I had a dim recollection of a book that I had intended to read that I felt just might boost my new meditation on patience and humor into a new realm.  The book was “365 Thank Yous”.  I found it in the inspirational literature section.  I recommend it to anyone who feels their lives have become tedious, derailed, uninspiring or filled with inexplicable losses. The journey this one man-made will inspire all of us to put our lives and our inconveniences into perspective and even be able to cherish them in new ways.

So, onward and upward to my next stop:  The Civil Court Supervisor!

About the Book - 365 Thank Yous imageErik Kolbell quote
About the Book page title image365 Thank Yous is a book that tells the story of an inspiration, the writing of 365 Thank You Notes, and how my life was changed by the people who received them.In December 2007, I had reached what I viewed as a nadir in my life. While my life seemed full of debts and disasters, I ached for the things and the security I felt I deserved. On January 1, 2008, as this dissatisfaction pervaded my thoughts, I took a walk in the mountains above Pasadena, where I was inspired to write one thank you note a day for the next year.Although it took more than a year to complete the writing of 365 Thank-you notes, I continued writing them until 365 were completed. And then kept on. I learned to be grateful for the life I had, recognizing that the love I had for my children made my life already richer than the many people I envied. I learned to be grateful for my law firm, my practice, and for the love of friends and family that surrounded me. I became thankful for the many people around me who dealt with challenges far greater than the ones facing me, with courage and style. I learned to recognize the many people in my life who had protected and cared for me.365 Thank Yous tells the story of how all these things happened, and could be traced to the willingness to be grateful, in fact to the grace I received from writing 365 Thank You notes.

One comment on “Gratitude or Grumpiness

  1. wow, Maya, what a story!
    Thank you for sharing the weavings of the fabric of your life and the absurdity that sometimes comes our way…..
    lots of love

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