How Many Steps Back Does One Take For Being An Asshat?

Today I had to take several steps back.

How is it Sunday night already?

I honestly don’t feel like I’ve had the rest that I need given that tomorrow starts another jam packed week. Oh well, suck it up Gillis.

Don’t worry though – this isn’t a bad thing. It just means that I’ve been playing as hard as I’ve been working. And plus, in about 12 days I’ll be heading out to Calgary for my first mini vacation of the year. Of course, it’s likely not going to be overly relaxing as I am heading there to get my adventure on with Rick. Between ice climbing and bobsledding, it’s going to be awesome. And we may or may not be talking about adding a run, a concert, and dinner at The Coup into the mix. And if we are extra lucky, the Skeleton – but don’t tell my mom about that one :).

Given that I’ve been working so much I may or may not have also mentioned to Rick that I really think I need – yes need – to be continuing the trip-a-month thing (which he encouraged by suggesting a March trip to Calgary).

You may have noticed that I didn’t travel in January. I think the not-getting-away-from-everything is catching up to me. As evidence, I offer you Grumpy Dan. He doesn’t come out too often, but I know that when he does that something is up. That something is usually not taking the time to stop and smell the roses; or remembering to enjoy and cherish the people that I am fortunate to have in my life. Because sometimes I need to step back and take the time to not take things for granted, because it’s just so easy for me to do.

With this particular appearance, Grumpy Dan seemed to come out of nowhere. I was simply walking to the office today and stopped for a coffee at Starbucks. While standing in line I found myself quickly to the limits of my patience with the customers in front of me who couldn’t seem to figure out what they wanted.

Don’t they know I have somewhere to be? I thought, frustrated. What the hell is taking so long? Order a coffee, pay, and get out of my way. Clearly, I was moving from frustration and impatience to anger. Clearly, it was all about me.

Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.


And then I realized I was being a completely spoiled jackass. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t say anything or do anything about these people that were still making up their minds. But I was more annoyed than what the situation warranted. And the situation warranted absolutely zero annoyance.

And even worse, I was getting angry.

Over a line of 2 people.

Ordering coffee.

Coffee – which exists in such abundance that getting annoyed over it is probably one of the most ridiculously stupid things I could do. So then I found myself even more annoyed for being annoyed with the people in front of me who were hopefully, thankfully, and blissfully unawares that I was being such a complete self-centered asshat. And I was also annoyed that I was allowing myself to get angry over something so unimportant.

Realizing all of this, I took a moment to take a couple of really deep breaths. As I left Starbucks, I slowed my pace, and just tried to think of all the awesome things in my life. I took a moment to think about certain friends who are going through such painful things right now, and how selfish I was being standing in line getting angry over nothing. And I remembered how lucky I am to have so many amazing people in my life.

I have to remind myself to do this more frequently.

And as I walked to the office, I realized that I haven’t been taking enough time recently to just stop. I’ve been working a lot – which I’ve been loving – but I still need to take the time to just stop. And breathe. And reflect. Because it’s far too easy to get caught up in the day-to-days, and the data, and the reports, and the write-this, edit-that, the lessons, the should-haves, the would-haves, the could-haves, and all the other things that I fill my time with. Yes, I love all of these things that I do, but if I don’t take the time to stop and enjoy them, then I’m not feeding that part of me that needs to be fed. I’m simply a drone, day-to-day’ing, hypnotized by the white-noise that is the sound of my life passing by. And if I just stop for a second and listen, I always find that there is this incredible symphony going on around me. I just have to stop and listen.

So tonight, I’m just sitting here scratching behind Elliot’s ears, sipping a coffee, and enjoying some chocolate. Because despite all the work that I have to do, I much prefer if Grumpy Dan takes an extended vacation. And since Grumpy Dan seems to disappear whenever Happy Dan goes adventuring, I’ve decided that my monthly trips are back on. Because they have a way of keeping me centered. They remind me to stop and listen, and enjoy the life that I am so lucky to have.

And that’s worth more than all of the coffee in the world.


13 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie says:

    Awesome post Dan! I love this line: “I always find that there is this incredible symphony going on around me.” What a lovely way to think of things. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. dangillis says:

      No problem. Glad you liked it.

  2. Rick says:

    I agree with Julie!- Great post, even if you are an asshat from time to time. 😉 It happens to even the awesomest of us, but your remedy is perfect: stop, listen, and enjoy life 🙂 And part of that ‘enjoying life’ thing is adventuring. Adventuring of the ice-climbing and bobsledding variety. Whoohoo!

    1. dangillis says:

      I like the way you think Rick. I like the way you think 🙂
      I fly out in 11 days. Not that I’m counting down or anything.

  3. aqcentric says:

    Not only do I adore your inspirational posts and comments on my blog, but I love that I can leave here either inspired or confused as hell based on your post du jour.

    You are one of my favourite people in this whole wide world. And you know what’s even better, when I make more friends, you’ll still be one of my favourites. That’s saying a lot.

    Chasing things is great. Just make sure you continue to remember why you’re chasing them.

    xo nerd.

    1. dangillis says:

      Thanks nerd. Very much appreciated.

  4. Carin says:

    Curses! I had a comment, and your commenting thing ate it! I will try and duplicate the awesome, although, no promises.

    Awesome post. It’s not everyone who can take a step back and realize that that annoyance isn’t necessary. I myself have not been as self-aware as that, and it took other people pointing it out before I thought gee, everyone seems to use scary adjectives to describe me. Maybe there’s something wrong.

    But anyway, next time Grumpy Dan comes out to play, I may be the very person you want to smack upside the head. I hate fast-moving coffee lines because I can’t read the board of choices, so take longer than your average bear to choose what caffeinated goodness I’m going to get. It gets especially fun when I say “What kind of tea do you have?” And they respond with “We have all kinds. What do you want?” Hey dude? I wanted a little inspiration and I can’t get it from the sign. Or the dude behind the counter is so harried that he makes me feel like less of a person because I have a couple of questions so I can decide. Often times I don’t try new stuff because I can’t think of it and don’t want to cause an episode of coffee rage from the people standing behind me who want to get their coffee and get the hell out of dodge.
    So anyway, just wanted to apologize in advance if ever I’m standing in front of Grumpy Dan in the coffee line. And let’s see if this’ll post.

    1. dangillis says:

      I absolutely laughed out loud when I read “Hey dude? I wanted a little inspiration and I can’t get it from the sign”.

      Anyway, I promise I won’t ever take out my coffee-related or coffee-unrelated rage on anyone. Because that rage is just dumb and a waste of everyone’s time. Because in the grand scheme of things, it accomplishes nothing but destructive thoughts, high blood pressure, and perhaps me getting coffee about 0.1 milliseconds faster. And if I need coffee that badly, I probably need to reassess my priorities.

      Also, there’s no need to apologize to me for what are, in every single way, my own patience issues. And if I am behind you and you notice that I’m getting frustrated, feel free to smack me upside the head and tell me to “suck it up princess”. Because I will most definitely need the reality check.

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