Responding to Frustrations, part 2

Yesterday was part 1 of this post about responding to frustration. We got all the way to the solution, and I made you wait until today for the solution. Frustrating, wasn’t it?! See what I did there?!

To refresh your memory, life has been giving me lemons lately. Three kind of lemons – annoying ones, unfair ones, and growth ones. But life has also given me a solution. That is what I want to share with you today.

No less that three times in the last week has the Serenity Prayer been brought to my attention. This is so appropriate because frustration makes you feel like you have no control over your own life. In each of the scenarios above, I was completely not in control over any of it.

Solutions Synchronicity

Long version of the Serenity Prayer
Did you know there is a long version to the Serenity Prayer? We all know the original:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.
But there is more!
Serenity in the face of frustration
Serenity Prayer Ambassador
Last week I had to actually enter a store for the first time in awhile. I was already not excited about it, but was masked up and ready. The person in front of me at the checkout was extremely rude to the cashier. Like the kind of rude where you are kind of embarrassed for the person acting out like a child. After they were done berating the clerk and stomped off in a huff, it was my turn to check out. I tried to connect with the clerk by smiling with my eyes since my mouth was covered. I finally just commented that I thought she handled it really well and I was impressed with her poise. She just said, “We have to accept that which we cannot change, right?”
Yep, great reminder!
Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast
Then of course, this podcast came up in my feed after I finished Chapter 9: Grim Defeat. Boom, accept the things we cannot change.
Any of these Serenity Prayer encounters by themselves would probably have just rolled out of my brain unconsciously. The fact that they came right after each other in quick succession – specifically when I needed them – is amazing. THAT is synchronicity. While learning the lesson feels hard, and frustrating, the answer to the lesson is often presented to us at the same time if we just listen.
Let me hear from you. What frustrations are you encountering these days? Is there synchronicity that is happening in your life?
By |2020-07-27T13:07:17-04:00July 29th, 2020|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Responding to Frustration

Let’s talk about frustration. Ugh, I know – more feelings?! It cannot be helped – this topic found me. As an avid reader, I often use books as an escape, buffer, or avoidance tool. What better time to continue re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban than when I am supposed to be finding a new job?! This time through the books I am reading one chapter at a time and following each reading with the corresponding chapter from the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text (HPST) podcast. I wrote more about this in a post in late 2019.
Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
So there I was, minding my own business reading about Sirius Black when the topic of frustration is introduced by HPST. Casper and Vanessa introduced the idea that perhaps there are different types of frustration. I can definitely cosign this hypothesis because I feel like I have encountered numerous instances of each type in the last few weeks. It is like once you are aware of something you see it everywhere. Remember synchronicity from last week? Let’s take a look at each type of frustration in turn, then see how synchronicity brought a solution as well!

Three Types of Frustration


These are the dumb little things that happen all day long that are a bother, but generally inconsequential. The example Casper uses in the HPST podcast is when the door sign reads, “Pull,” and he pushes. Annoying frustration. I do this ALL THE TIME, but I generally laugh because it makes me think of one of my favorite Far Side cartoons.


Here are a few annoyances that tend to be more frustrating than funny for me.
  • Bixby making up nonsense songs to the dog first thing in the morning.
  • Going to the garden shed in the back yard, but forgetting the key that is hanging in the house.
  • Learning a new online password tool and needing to update all of websites I visit.
  • Half of the Tupperware in our drawer not having matched lids.
Individually none of these items would cause a ripple in the day. They are just annoyances. Sort of like operational gnats in the functioning of my day. No big deal. Let’s look at the second type.


Bixby and I have been on lock down since mid-March when COVID really took America by force. I am a rule follower and Bixby is a scientist and data nerd so we are heeding the science behind social distancing and masking up when we absolutely need to leave the house (i.e., to pick up groceries from curbside service). On the other hand, our teenagers seem to be COVID-denyers and decided to stay at their mom’s house for the duration of the pandemic (whatever that means). I have lots of feelings about this, but this isn’t even the frustrating part.

I was running a low grade fever for multiple days. Sore throat, crazy headaches, and intense fatigue? Check, check, and check. I registered online to get my drive through test at CVS and seethed at the injustice for the 2 days I had to wait for my appointment.

  • I am the one who cancelled by mom’s Celebration of Life because we were not supposed to gather in groups.
  • Yet, I see friends getting together for exercise, parties, and vacations.
  • I am the one who missed a visit with my nieces because social distancing was too much.
  • Yet, my kids are running amok with friends across NC and the surrounding states.
And I am the one who gets COVID?!
Please hear me – I would not wish this disease on anyone. My frustration is that I am following the rules and yet get sick anyway. It makes me want to stomp my feet and yell, “IT’S NOT FAIR!”
PS – COVID test is negative. Plain old summer virus for me. I am feeling much better and am back to exercise this week. It’s still frustrating though. Onto our third – and most challenging – type of frustration.
Invitations to Growth
Sweet Jesus, I do not want anymore character building. Most people would say I have enough character! My dad used to say, “If it won’t kill you, it will make you stronger. It’s that death part you have to worry about.” He was usually saying this as he was timing me in agility drills between summers of college basketball and I was sucking wind, bent over holding my knees between sets. At my former job, we sometimes referred to these as AFGOs (Another Fucking Growth Opportunity).
The problem with all of this is that it is all true – my character came from all those AFGOs I didn’t die from. But it is so painful to walk through. Frustration that leads to growth can often cause anger, interruptions to routine, and for me, tears.
I am married to a wonderful man (despite his made up songs while I want silence), but I sure did kiss a lot of frogs in my 20’s. When those relationships came to an end, I thought my heart was shattered forever. I thought there was something fundamentally wrong with me. While I don’t believe there is only one person for each of us, I do know Bixby is by FAR a better match than anyone before.
A great partner on the other side of years of dating frustration.

Pre-COVID when we used to go out to dinner.

But it was work to get to a point in my life where I wanted to be a good partner, not just to avoid being alone. I had to be a whole person going into a relationship, not just hoping someone would make up for my deficits.
So while all of these opportunities (and more) have come my way recently, the Universe also sends the solution my way. I am going to share what that was tomorrow so stay tuned!
PS – I am aware of how, um, problematic JK Rowling has become. I 100% believe #TransLivesMatter and fully disagree with JK Rowlings views. I believe I am able to separate the author and her transphobic hate speech from the HP books. What I am a fan of today is the analysis that the HPST podcasters provide – more so than even the books themselves. You can read more about their perspective on JK Rowling’s abuse of her platform on HPST episode, “Owl Post Edition: J.K. Rowling and Transphobia with Jackson Bird” and on this written post.
By |2020-07-27T13:00:22-04:00July 28th, 2020|Mental Well-being|0 Comments
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