One day, on my way to work toward the end of the month, I was listening to one of my favorite audiobooks, You are a Badass by Jen Sincero.
I wasn’t paying much attention to the speed limit because I was so wrapped up in listening to Jen speak…la, la, la, la, la…in my own little world. Suddenly, I see this man dressed in a sheriff’s uniform practically jump in the middle of the road, signaling with his arms to pull over.
Sh*t, was I getting pulled over? Yup, I was getting pulled over.
I first looked around thinking maybe there was another car he was signaling to. Nope, he was referring to moi. This really wasn’t a surprise for me as I love driving fast; I just didn’t realize I was driving that fast on that particular day—I was too in the moment to even notice.
I got pulled over doing 55 mph in a 35-speed zone (see, I knew I wasn’t driving that fast). I told myself, “It’s okay, Christine, you’re not going to get a ticket because this man of the law who serves his country is way too kind. So, apologize, smile really big, act like you had no idea that you were driving that fast (which is true), and start crying if you need to.” I didn’t start crying, but I probably should have.
This gentle giant did write me out a ticket for speeding, but he was also kind enough to give me a break. He gave me a $150 break—thank you, thank you, thank you! Instead of the $300 ticket that I should have gotten for speeding 20 mph over the speed limit, he felt bad and gave me a ticket for five mph over the limit.
The apology must have worked. My dad always said, “If you ever get pulled over, use your manners and always apologize the minute they come to the window.” Talk about being thankful—I couldn’t stop thanking the Universe for the ticket I did wind up getting. I didn’t get upset at all, knowing it was actually my fault. I coughed up the fine to the multibillion-dollar highway construction project that needed funding.
That morning, I arrived at work and went about my day. I picked up the mail at the kiosk and noticed two envelopes, one addressed to me from the City of Orlando, and the other from The State of New York. The one from The City of Orlando was a notice of violation for going through a red light a few weeks ago. (I happen to believe they have the yellow lights turn much faster on the traffic signals with cameras than the traffic signals that don’t. Just sayin’.)
The one from The State of New York was for going through a toll that you were supposed to mail in your payment (which I obviously forgot to do). My five dollar toll payment turned into $50 and my going through a red light fine (when it was really yellow; a yellow light means to drive faster to get through the intersection right?) was $158.
I am now at a $358 deficit, and it’s only 10 a.m. What the f*ck!
Oh, I was just shaking my head and laughing because how is this even happening? I knew when I was going through the yellow light and it immediately turned red as I was driving through, that I was definitely going to get a violation in the mail as I’d seen the camera flash go off five times. Yup, they got my license plate number—can’t escape that one. My theory is, that if you’re going to go through a yellow light and it turns red and you get caught, unfortunately, you have to accept the consequence and not bitch about it.
A few hours later, I decided to go on my bank app to check my funds, knowing I would have to pay for all my mistakes that morning. I see a debit charge of $200 to Wawa (a 7-11 type store), which I never, ever frequent. You have got to be flipping kidding me. Is this some kind of joke, am I on the show Punk’d? No, someone actually stole my debit card number and charged $200 at Wawa. It was not a joke. What the hell are they buying at Wawa for $200? Can someone please tell me? Is one person just filling everyone’s gas tanks up, saying, “Hey everyone, gas is on me.” Now I was laughing harder than I thought I ever could (especially over something like this), but I couldn’t help it because I knew exactly why this was happening.
The Universe tests us all.
The Universe wants to see how we are going to react when difficult situations come into our life.
Are we going to get upset and throw a tantrum? Blame everybody and everything? Or, are we going to accept what happened and take ownership and responsibility for our actions?
Life is 50/50—we have good days, and we have bad days. If we had rainbow and unicorn days every day, we wouldn’t appreciate it when life is good.
Life is a test, and it’s our actions and how we react to things throughout our life that help to show us if we have grown through our experiences. This I know was definitely a life lesson for me. It made me feel free, knowing that the circumstances that happened that day didn’t affect me. I wasn’t upset at all, not one bit. I have to say, I actually questioned if I was okay because I was taking this so calmly.
Instead, I chose to dance. A few years ago, hell yeah, I definitely would’ve had a totally different reaction. I would have been so upset and pissed off, and you bet, I would’ve blamed the police officer for being a jerk, for giving me a ticket, and for trying to make his quota for the month.
When things happen to go wrong during our day, remember that we all have a choice on how to react.
By choosing to not get upset over the things that were out of my control, I felt empowered. I was in total control of my thoughts, my feelings, and my actions. I cannot tell you how amazing it feels, knowing that I am and will always be in control of my thinking, and no one will ever be able to take that from me.
Once we understand that we have full control over how we want to think about things, our life will change and start going in the direction we want it to. Don’t let silly circumstances control how we want to live. Next time, instead of getting upset, choose to dance.