Slamming on the brakes

After An Accident

The car in front of me slammed on brakes, and so did I. Within seconds, I felt a thunderous stampede begin in the very back of my SUV. The stampede rolled through the back-seat floorboard, continued under the front seats and came to a rolling stop under my feet.

Blueberries! Hundreds of blueberries had tumbled out of a gallon-sized plastic clamshell I had bought for a function for feed a huge crowd. It had been a long day. It was late. I was tired. There was more to do than was humanly possible. The thought of having to pick dark blueberries out from under the dark car seats and between all of the crevices in the dark of night was nearly overwhelming! For a split second I considered parking the car and collapsing in tears. Didn’t I deserve a good cry? I was frustrated and sad and overwhelmed. How could I do one more thing?

Although I was alone, out of the darkness I could hear my husband chuckling. If he had been there with me, he would have thrown his head back and laughed – a great belly laugh! I could hear his laughter cascading from his open mouth. That man could be equally tired, equally overwhelmed, and equally burdened, but his typical reaction to the odd twists of aggravation was frequently humor. I had to admit. Those tiny blueberries really had felt like a stampede as they rolled through the car. I could hear and feel them as they tumbled. While I imagined millions of them covering the floorboards, there were probably only a hundred or so. The dark berries, the dark night, the black car interior – how could I not laugh at the odds?

The reality was that a lot had gone right. I had driven safely through the day and had avoided an accident, which would have been far worse than picking up hundreds of blueberries from the floor of the car. I decided to take a deep breath and focus on all that had gone right. While I still had a lot to do, much of it was for time spent with friends, and I was grateful for each of them. I could have pulled the car over and cried, but I chose not to. Even though a good cry can be cathartic, it would have taken time that I didn’t have and made my contacts dirty. There still would have been hundreds of blueberries to pick up out of the dark, less time to do it in before bedtime, and the task would have been harder with dirty contact lenses.

Focusing on what went right

As I focused on being grateful for my husband and wishing that I could be more like him, I realized that instinct to respond as defeated or to respond with resolve carries over into other parts of our lives. When fifty things are checked off my list of things to do, I’m still obsessed with the fact that there are five I failed to finish. If my child has four excellent teachers, I fret over the one who isn’t as strong an educator. When I respond with resolve, I set up a plan to check off those last five items and work with the school to find solutions.

Making life work is often a balance of focusing on what went right while working to address the things that didn’t go as you wanted. When folks first convert to a ketogenic diet, they sometimes worry about what they “can’t eat”. They go to the movies and fixate on how much they want the popcorn and how much they miss it instead of being grateful to focus on the movie, saving money, and enjoying better health. Others look at the dessert table and feel deprived instead of feeling grateful for smaller clothes and having control over their health.

These days I focus on all of the “diet” foods that I can eat and of which I never seem to tire. These are the foods that were limited on my old low-fat diets that didn’t work: baby back ribs, ribeye steaks, bacon, butter, chicken in a lemon cream sauce and mayonnaise. I eat those fatty ribs with my bare hands and lick my fingers as I go, being careful not to drip anything on my smaller new clothes. Now, that is a day gone right and something for which to be grateful!

Kristie Sullivan

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