How a Single Sentence Said by an Uber Driver Turned My Shit Day Around

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Photo credit: Santiago Gomez on Unsplash

I woke up not in the best of moods and it was all downhill from there. I wrote 700 words I have no plans on publishing because I’ll be honest, I have no idea where I was going with any of it. Something about Art, God and Oxy, I don’t know. I’m just the middleman between the celestial wireless and all of you. I write what comes to me. I play with ideas and words — professionally.

When I can’t write, I’m internally bothered. I’m often too close to my writing to see it’s flaws. I have a tendency to romanticize every potential post idea I come up with. I take it and run with it — and sometimes there’s just no place to go. This was one of those days but luckily, even I could see what I had just written wasn’t worth publishing. Good premise (maybe), bad execution.

Trying to write and failing miserably by my own standards only further solidified the thought today would be a shit day. Then I went for my morning run. As I pulled my Beats By Dre headphones out of my hoodie pocket as I left my house — after two long years and surviving a journey through hell and back with me — they finally gave out on me and snapped in two.

These are not just some pair of headphones. They are my prized possession. Understand, before I bought them, I wasted ungodly amounts of money on $5 headphones that would inevitably break a week later. A good friend of mine offered to sell me a $200 pair of Beats By Dre’s for $25 (he owed me a favor plus they may or may not have fell off the back of a truck) — and until today, they’ve never let me down. I use them everyday. I run with them on, I often write with them on, I use them to ignore society at large when in public.

Throughout the rest of the day; plans fell through, friends let me down, I went to pickup my nephew from school and his bus was late — then when we got home, he was acting like a six year old — because he’s six. Just a rough day.

I waited all day for my beloved Philadelphia Flyers to face off against the deplorable Pittsburgh Penguins in game 1 of the NHL Playoffs, only to have The Flyers go down by 3 in the first period. Murphy’s Law in full effect.

All this resulted in a day I just wanted to be over. I hailed an Uber so I could head home and put an end to it. Fate threw a friendly man named Ivan in a Chevy Malibu my way. Ivan was a talkative fella. Though my day was basically poop from start to finish, I’m not rude so we got to talking. The conversation smoothly transitioned from the small meaningless talk both you and your Uber driver expect of each other to one we were both genuinely interested in.

As we approached my destination he said “Yeah man, I just try to remind myself to be grateful for all I have. You have to. You work with what you got and be grateful for what you get with it.” It wasn’t incredibly profound, it was just precisely what I needed to hear, as well as astoundingly true.

It was just the ending I needed to a day I’d otherwise like to forget. A positive to be pulled from the wreckage of an otherwise waste. It also allowed me to put things into perspective a bit. I know it wasn’t what was going on outside of me that was bothering me today, it was what was going on inside. It always is, because that’s the true source of happiness or unhappiness. It’s not about the externals. My thoughts were responsible for my shit day. I practically woke up and internally declared it one, so what else should I have expected from it?

We may not control our every thought but we do choose which ones to focus on. A bad mood is not a thing that happens to us, it’s a decision we make, whether consciously or unconsciously. We decide to have bad days. Had my morning Uber driver said what Ivan did, my day may have been completely different. Better yet, if I hadn’t woken up in a “bad mood” — one with no real legitimate basis to it, at that — I may not have needed to use a random thing an Uber driver said to me as a means to turn my day around, as it was ending.

Writing About the Human Condition, via My Thoughts, Observations, Experiences, and Opinions — Founder of Journal of Journeys and BRB INC ©

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