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Are You Your Own Flat Tire?
My what were what? I looked. "Oh. Ohhhhh." She directed me to a bike shop and proceeded to fill up the stroller tires. "Free air," she said, as if imparting some sort of runic wisdom. We continued on, and suddenly the whole world seemed lighter, easier, friendlier. I could have sworn the sun came out from behind the clouds. The stroller wasn't such a burden! It skimmed across the sidewalk like a water skipper on the surface of an alpine pond. I didn't quite start singing something from "The Sound of Music," but I could have, that's how completely my worldview had shifted.
It occurs to me that this is something of a metaphor for life. It's not even that we make things more difficult than they need to be, but that we don't question whether or not they need to be difficult.
We assume that if something is hard we just have to deal. So I've been applying the flat tire test to everything that comes my way that seems difficult, and, surprise surprise, it's helping. Thanksgiving loomed, filling me with dread. Why? I usually love Thanksgiving! When I thought about it, I realized I just felt overwhelmed by the idea of hosting and all that went with it, but worried that if I begged off our friends would think I was lazy and lame. And you know what? I asked them if they would mind hosting, they agreed with alacrity, and sent out an email with a suggested menu. Free air! Once I pinpointed the problem and simplified our plans for fun, my energy returned. Free air!
As the holiday season envelops us with its many demands, I think of what a wise woman—ok, my mother—likes to say: Just because something's good doesn't mean it doesn't cause anxiety. What's subtly, almost invisibly, keeping your energy down, your spirits low? Can you apply some "free air," so to speak, and lighten your own load?
When your biggest roadblock is...you.
Is it you or your life that's the problem?