So, you know that feeling when you’re having a day that seems like everything is going wrong? Where you just want to climb back into bed, pull the covers over your head, and pretend the outside world doesn’t exist? Of course, you do. We all do.

But what if I told you those kinds of days were avoidable? Well, mostly anyway.

There will always be those moments (few and far between, thankfully), where you’ll receive the kind of news that leaves you in a stupor, wondering if and how life goes on. Those aren’t the kind of days I’m talking about here. For those days, wine (or several very strong martinis) and maybe even a short-term pity party are perfectly acceptable responses.

Those days aside, I’m talking the garden variety shit that happens that has you wondering if today was a day you should have just stayed in bed. The sort of days where your mood steadily declines as the crazy/bad/ridiculous stuff piles on. Like a day I recently had…

I am an early riser. Except for my high school years (when 1:00 a.m. bedtimes meant sleeping until noon was a necessity), I enjoy waking before the sun. This is made exponentially easier by my inability to stay awake past 9:30 p.m. most nights. Party animal I am not. Well, unless the party ends by nine.

This and a quiet, Caribbean sunrise? Perfection.

Bedtimes aside, there’s just something about those quiet hours before the rest of the world wakes up that fuels my efficiency. I get a jump start on my day’s tasks and still enjoy a cup of coffee surrounded by quiet – not chaos. It’s my version of meditation.

And so it was last Monday. At least it started off that way.

But then, as I quietly watered plants by the pool, my Monday took a decidedly “crap, this is not a good sign” sort of turn. I got stung by a wasp. On my pinkie toe. The one that went to market or wee, wee, wee, all the way home, depending on where you start.

All this drama before I even had my first sip of coffee.

As you can imagine, there is nothing relaxing or meditative about a grown-ass woman disrupting the peaceful splendor of a Caribbean sunrise with an ear-piercing scream while simultaneously chucking her half-full watering can into the air and running at full speed toward the house.

If you’ve never been stung by a wasp, let me assure you – it hurts like hell. I’m not sure if Caribbean wasps pack more of a punch than their mainland counterparts (and I don’t care to find out), but the pain was incredible. Oh, and this was the second time in as many days that I had been stung. The first time I wasn’t sure what happened, as I didn’t see what had got me. I assumed it was a biting fly or something. But at 6:45 a.m. on that Monday morning, I clearly identified the offender. Him and three or four of his friends, all aggressively hovering around my legs.

Pure evil.

After composing myself, I sat down and drank the cup of coffee waiting for me on the patio table. My plan was to wait for Island Boy to wake up so he could deal with what clearly was a wasp nest under the pool deck.

And while I sipped coffee and admonished the dogs to stay away from that corner of the deck (they seem to need to learn by experience, unfortunately), I thought about how my day had started. Not a particularly auspicious beginning, especially on a Monday. A Monday that was mildly clouded by the remnants of Sunday Funday’s rosé consumption.

Then I started to think about all the “to dos” on my neverending list. Work, laundry, groceries, household stuff. Then I glanced up and noticed not one but TWO cruise ships already in port. Any hope I had of running errands in town just evaporated. Nobody voluntarily goes to town when a cruise ship is in port, let alone two. Parking is out of the question, and the streets are clogged. No thanks.

It was at that point when everything started to get a little overwhelming. And I could feel my mood slipping. Next stop, grumpyville.

But then I made a conscious decision. I elected to temporarily skip all my “to dos” (the joys of being self-employed) in favor of doing something fun. So I loaded up the truck and made an early morning trek to kite beach for a little fun on the water.

Asking Island Boy to eliminate the wasp nest (you didn’t think I would do it myself, did you?) could wait. My inbox full of emails? A quick scan told me nothing was in crisis mode. The laundry? I knew from experience it would still be there when I returned.

And you know what? The stupid wasp sting and the worries over a typical Monday staring at me with endless tasks to be accomplished all disappeared. I spent a few hours doing what I love. And spending time enjoying life totally reset my mental state in a positive direction for the rest of the day.

This is my happy place.

Which made me realize something. Having a good/bad day is pretty much under your control. For the most part, anyway.

Even when the universe sends you a few bumps in the road, you can decide how you want to respond. The truth is, non-amazing things are going to happen – sometimes on a daily basis. But when they do, YOU get to decide how to respond. Curl up in a ball, mad at the world for your lot in life. Or, stay positive. I think you know which one is more fulfilling.

I know this is basic common sense, but sometimes I think we forget how much power we really have. At least I do. Some days I let myself fall victim to the “woe is me” mentality. And that never ends well. Nobody likes a grumpy Island Girl. Especially one who wastes countless hours dwelling on negative things. Ugh. Not a good look. At all.

So my challenge to you (and myself in the future), is to take those cumulative moments that don’t seem all that wonderful and turn them into a positive, happy thing.

Whether that means enjoying your favorite activity, getting in touch with someone who always makes you smile, or whatever else it is that brings you joy – we just have to remember to do it. It might not be easy. Or convenient. Or even understood by others. But so what? This isn’t about them, it’s about you.

Because any day you spend stewing over negative things is a day wasted. At least in my humble opinion. It’s a lot nicer to smile and appreciate the good in your life, even when what’s currently on your plate is something you’d rather not have.

Perfect for pinning.

Got questions? Comments? Want to know more about island life? Thinking about making a big life change? I’d love to hear from you.

Check out this post or send your thoughts to hello@theadventuresofislandgirl.com and let’s connect.

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