What to Do When Things Fall Apart

How to stay steady when it feels like the world is against you.

Illustration by Marta Sevilla

Drip. Drip-drip-drip-drip. I was putting the finishing touches on dinner. It had been a long day and I was idly leaning on the kitchen counter, enjoying a micro-moment of peace when something splashed onto my head. DRIP DRIP DRIP. “What in God’s name was that?” I looked up and saw water dripping from the ceiling onto my stovetop. Then I heard the upstairs toilet flush. And the drip became a stream. And the truth was revoltingly clear: Ready or not, a literal and figurative fecal hurricane had hit the fan. Serenity now.

It takes practice to be able to take things less personally. It takes practice to see the delicious-looking worm hiding the hook and choose not to bite.

Some days, it seems pretty obvious the world is out to get you (even without a major plumbing disaster like mine). The coffee pot just knew you were late for an important meeting when it jumped out of your hands and leapt to its death on the tiled floor, didn’t it? Whaddyagonnado? Stuff happens.

But the next time you feel harassed by kamikaze kitchen appliances or any of life’s large and small indignities, take a breath. Feel your feet making contact…

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