In Praise of Perspective

A shout out to my friend, Steve Crawford.  Thanks to his good influence, my travels today will be far, far happier.

This morning was the morning from hell.  Amtrak New York was, how should I put this … not very helpful.  To make a long, convoluted story short, I arrived at Penn Station well over an hour before my train was to leave.  Thanks to a succession of Amtrak people (check in, ticket agents, supervisors) I got on the train with just over a minute to spare and filled with frustration and anger.  Among other things, Amtrak had extorted from me an extra $50 to let me on board (and, at that point, with less than five minutes to spare, I gave in and paid the extortion).

I got on the train royally, um, po’d.   When the conductor came up to me for my ticket, I was not a particularly pleasant person.  That’s when knowing Steve for several years really helped.  I could hear Steve saying to me, “And what was it the conductor did to you that made you treat him that way?”  Steve approaches everyone as a brother or sister, and more importantly (at this moment) as an individual, worthy of respect.

By the time I was dealing with the truly friendly man who was the café steward, I was ready to treat him as the valuable individual that he is.  I wrote down what had happened to me at Penn Station (as I do intend to contact Amtrak) and then let go.  The older version of me would have carried the baggage of my anger and frustration with me at least all morning if not all day.  Thanks to Steve and his good example, I’m very much enjoying my beautiful train ride through “up-state” New York.

Anger hurts only one person, the person who is angry.  We all get angry from time to time.  We all get frustrated from time to time.  The anger and frustration are very real.  But it’s our choice whether we carry it with us or let it go.

Here’s to perspective, and letting go of our anger.  Here’s to treating each person we encounter as the valuable individual that s/he is.  Life is a whole lot happier and less stressful that way.  It’s also a lot more fun.

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