I know I’m not alone in experiencing those days where you just aren’t feeling it. Today, for example, was one of those days.
After going to bed late (again), I snoozed my alarm. Five times. Contemplated calling in sick for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
I skipped washing my hair because the thought of having to dry it seemed a fate worse than death.
I put clothes on my body without a second thought as to how they looked or felt.
I drove to work listening to songs I didn’t enjoy because reaching forward to change the station seemed a stretch too far.
I sat in the same spot of traffic because switching lanes would require the mental capacity to look over my shoulder, which was not something I was ready to do at that point.
I chose and subsequently ate a breakfast that I absolutely did not want, because I couldn’t muster up the effort to care or deliberate between options.
Then I went to buy a coffee and a man jumped in front of me in the line. Now, despite my earlier apathy to pretty much everything I had encountered that morning, I am British and we tend to take queueing very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that this solitary movement was the one thing powerful enough to rouse me from my miserable reverie. As I gathered up a (furious) breath and opened my mouth to verbally assassinate him, I realized he had simply paid for my coffee.
A man whom I had never met and whom I know without a shadow of a doubt I had not so much as smiled at that morning (smiling also being a feat of such proportions, I simply could not attempt that morning). He introduced himself, we exchanged a few pleasantries and both went about our day. He asked for nothing in return, but that I pay it forward.
This simple act completely turned my morning around. I wore a dopey smile on my face and told everyone I came into contact with about this lovely thing that had happened to me. Everyone I told then began to smile and tell their own stories of similar such lovely things they had experienced. The happiness bred happiness and it stayed with me for the rest of the day.
Which got me thinking, if this one interaction could change my whole outlook and mood, could I replicate that for myself the next time I’m feeling low or burned out? I resolved to remember the feeling of amazement at that man’s random act of kindness and conjure it up at my next, most miserable moment.
Turns out there’s no such thing as a bad day, just as there’s no such thing as a good day. All that changes is our own attitude, and I’m trying to remember that next time I drop my car keys and write off my whole week as an unmitigated disaster.
Have you experienced a random act of kindness? Or do you have any tips on overcoming a bad day? Let me know in the comments below.
And yes, I paid it forward later that day, but telling you about it would eliminate the altruism. So there.