Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Lesson of the Windy Day Umbrella

"I heard in 40 minutes there will be a pause in the rain."
"Is it raining now?  I don't see any rain, but I guess that doesn't mean it's not raining.  I'll take my umbrella in case."
With that, I made it halfway home in windy but dry conditions, even paused for a minute to pet a little dog along the way.  Then, it started sprinkling, but not bad enough for an umbrella.  And right when I got to the beginning of the South Street Bridge, it started pouring.  The wind was so strong that I stumbled a few times, and the bridge only enhanced its strength.  I started laughing-- aloud (though nobody could hear me with the wind and rain).  While I wasn't yet soaked, I knew an umbrella would be futile.  Too many times before I had tried struggling with an umbrella, but in windy conditions I was usually left frustrated and wet anyways.  To be honest, it usually put me in a bad mood for the next hour.  This time, I decided to learn from the past.  I decided I would choose my own happiness.  I knew I was about to be drenched, but I embraced it-- happily.  I looked across the street.  A man and woman dressed in business clothes had just pulled out their umbrellas.  They were already fighting the inevitable.  I put my head down and pushed forward.  I felt like I was on an adventure, "roughing" the elements.  A minute later I heard the guy across the street tell the woman next to him that it was time to put away the umbrellas; the umbrellas had already flipped inside out several times and put up little fight against the weather.  

On the other side of the bridge, the wind was lighter, and I could have pulled out my umbrella.  By that time, though, my clothes were already saturated, and I figured an extra few drops of water wasn't going hurt, so I continued home, still smiling.  

And so I learned the lesson of the windy day umbrella.  

Life is filled with events small and big that we have no control over.  We must accept the present moment and know that we can only control our reaction to the moment.  It's not about giving up.  It's the opposite of giving up.  When you give up, you stop reacting.  Embracing the present is about being proactive and choosing an attitude of acceptance.  It's about making the most of a rainy day.

Moral of the story: Invest in a raincoat and rainboots... immediately.  Oh, and embrace the present moment in its entirety.


  1. I expect a quote for that comment.

    1. Wasn't sure if you wanted your name "published." Follow up note to all: Bri spoke the first sentence written.