Accepting what I don’t have control over. I did what I could; I booked to stay at a place with confirmed reliable internet. I booked in a populated area that is known for good internet (some have said “the best internet in Costa Rica”), and reliable power. I did what I could, and yet I have been here for a week and have been truly unlucky so far. The router at my place needs to be replaced (thanks to me it is getting replaced though), and tonight before my online class a transformer blew up the road from me – rendering me completely unable to teach my class. If it wasn’t for a very expensive text message and help from an awesome friend/coworker I wouldn’t have even been able to let my TA and class know what was going on. The other residents here said “this has never happened before”. It’s just how lucky I am I guess. So much so that they’re now calling me bad luck!
I’ve been having a really tough time not stressing over the possibility of my inability to come through on my responsibilities. I attempt to lower the risk as much as possible, but it is ultimately out of my control and yet completely renders me helpless to fulfill my duties and expectations others have of me. And I feel like a failure. I feel like I’m letting people down. I feel like I’m ruining my reputation. Thankfully, this class, has been the first thing that I’ve been unable to fulfill, but the fear it will happen has been plaguing me. The loss of income is one thing – with my whole income currently dependent on power and internet, but the thing that stresses me more is how I am not coming through for others.
But what can I do? I can tell them I’ll make it up to them. I had an idea earlier today to send out emails to all of my students and clients warning about the possibility of these things and how I will be doing my best to avoid it; however, if it happens I promise it will be made up for in whichever way they prefer. Unfortunately when I arrived back to my place to send those email, the power was out. I still plan to send them out as soon as power is restored. For my students I’m missing class with as I type, it won’t be hypothetical and I’ll be adding an apology and a plan to make it up to them. I guess that’s how I keep my integrity here. I have no power over the power. It’s ridiculously frustrating, but it is the truth. And this is the truth even if I was in Canada. Somehow, because I chose to come to Costa Rica, this feels more on me. But then again, if I was in Canada that is also a choice, is it not? And funnily enough I wouldn’t even think to say “well, I chose to be here, so this loss of power from a snowstorm is on me”. Our brains are funny things.
I’m reading a book right now on decision making, and how we very often falsely use “resulting” to determine whether we made a good decision or not. That is when you base the quality of decision on the quality of outcome. It’s exactly that that I’m doing when I think I made a bad choice coming here, or that it’s my fault and I should have seen this coming. Really though, the result of missing class tonight has nothing to do with the quality of my decision to come here. I need to remember that. If I had a flashlight or candles I’d be reading “Thinking in Bets” right now until it is seared into my memory.
So, aside from warning them, telling them I’ll make it up, and then of course doing it, what can be done? I think I need to acknowledge that there’s a limit and once I hit that limit, I need to let it go. Let it go and not sit here and suffer. Not decide that I need to sit here staring at my computer, which I should be on teaching right now, punishing myself. If I could let it go, I may focus on trying to figure out something I can eat or do something valuable like meditating.
What is it about feeling we are being bad if we find joy in these times? If we let it go and enjoy ourselves by using the opportunity for good? Why does even the idea of that make me feel like it would mean I’m not truly sorry it is happening? The truth of course is it really doesn’t change how I feel about the situation. I am still frustrated, disappointed, and upset that circumstances occurred and made me unable to fulfill my duty to my students and coworker. That won’t change whether I sit here willing the power to return and cursing myself for it, or whether I sit on the porch and mediate. And it doesn’t make it any less bad for others. It isn’t like they are benefiting from me stressing out. There’s nothing I can do to make it less annoying for them now, and the only benefit I can provide is from my actions after the fact. I must trust that people will have faith in me to make it right, and that even if they don’t, I will come through as that is the only way I can prove myself. Though I struggle with the idea of people feeling let down and angry with me, I cannot control it, and I can only do my best. At this point, it means trusting that I will do what I can when I can, and whether or not it’s enough for them, it must be enough for me.
By now class is probably over. I’m very sad I missed it. I was really hoping that at least the power would come back during class, and I’d get to complete it and apologize to them directly and timely. How can I redirect the anger to the situation and not to myself? When it comes to others, I will absolutely own my part and make it up to them because I don’t want them to have to suffer because of this, and I am the teacher/professional here. But for me, for now, how do I stop myself from owning something that really doesn’t belong to me? I did what I could, but it still feels yucky. I think the distinction that’s important here is to acknowledge that this situation feels yucky, I don’t feel yucky because I did something wrong. It just sucks. And I know in my heart I can be proud of myself as long as I do my best. Just like I would be of anyone else.
And with that, can you please go fucking meditate now?!?