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Taking Things Personally

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Sunday found me sitting on the tarmac at DFW airport waiting for an open gate so our plane could taxi up and belch us out. I was returning from one of those reoccurring, taking-care-of-family-stuff-trips and was just a smidge worried about my upcoming newspaper deadline, my yearbook pages still unsent, my purchase orders still undone, and the topic of my blog post still undecided.

Jeez Louise, no wonder I stay so stressed.

I don’t know why I worried so. I should have learned by now that airports, airplanes, and air travel in general provides as much fodder as a classroom filled with teenagers (although I find the teenage kind more amusing and their behavior more acceptable).

I was squished into the middle seat way, way in the back of a very, very full plane when the woman next to me whipped out her cell phone and started gushing to someone about a fabulous book she’d been reading.

“Blah, blah, blah, we’re the director, producer of our own lives…blah, blah, blah… we shouldn’t take things personally…blah…blah…blah…If someone points a gun to your head, don’t take it personally…”

I almost fell out of my seat (since I had illegally unbuckled my belt).

“Are you kidding me!” I almost screamed. “You better start taking things personally if someone has a friggin’ gun to your head! Are you a big, fat…” (No, I didn’t say any of it, although the bubble above my head was in overdrive.)

I realize I’m probably the only person on the planet who hadn’t heard of the little book she was talking about, Four Agreements, until then. I guess I missed that episode of Oprah, but Holy Moley Crack Fire, don’t ya think there are some things out there that one should just, well, I don’t know, take personally? You know, things like guns pointing at your head? (I don’t care if it was a metaphor. And, yes, I’m sure there’s probably much more to it than this little snippet.)

Still, all of that got me to thinking, and we all know what happens when that happens. I figured if guns pointing at one’s head shouldn’t be taken personally, well then, there are lots of other things not to take personally. My short list includes things like grades, yearbook pages, budget money, deadlines of any kind, eating mass quantities of anything, being late for anything, everything in my Things-That-Will-Get-You-Fired-Folder (which sadly is now several inches thick and located in my right hand desk drawer), and me saying someone is dumber than a bag of cat hair.

It sort of gives everyone a free pass, doesn’t it? Kind of like that get-out-of-jail-free card we love so much. So I guess the next time a kid in my classroom complains about his grade, I’ll just say, “Hey, don’t take it so personally.”

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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About Carol Richtsmeier

  • You said it. But that’s why God invented noise-cancelling headphones, right?