Ramblings
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Unexpected Uber Smiles

It was a bright yellow car. You’d think I had ordered a cab.

“Uber?” I asked, as soon as he pulled up.

He smiled as I got in, which made me smile, too.

“How was your day?” he asked. I think he saw my tired face.

“It was good. I’m ready to go home, though. I’m exhausted!”

“Hey, at least is was such a beautiful day outside today,” he said. I wholeheartedly agreed – it may still be cold out, but at least it was bright and sunny. “Such a pity that it is going to snow again next week… we’re in the middle of March!” I sighed and told him that it doesn’t surprise me anymore. When he asked why, I said I guess a lot of things have stopped surprising me, and worrying me while at it. That’s when the conversation got interesting.

“How do you do it?”

“Do what?” I responded.

“Stop worrying. I ask because it’s so hard to do, and I’d love to know how you do it!”

I started laughing and told him that this is definitely not easy for me – I am a self-professed over thinker. I’ve always had an inquisitive personality, so my mind goes from zero to a hundred in a matter of seconds… always trying to be informed, to do good, to care about the people in my story, to fix – not just my – but everyone else’s problems. With this comes the inevitable over analyzing of every situation: how scenarios could have been better, or how to learn and improve the next time a similar situation arises. But, this is draining at times. And life finds a way to remind you to stop worrying.

“I think that there just comes a point where you kind of have to stop worrying – not because you want to, but because the burden is too much. It weighs you down. It’s quite freeing to realize this. To realize when a situation is no longer allowing you to grow, to learn, to feed your soul. So, you just flip the switch.”

“How old are you?” he inquired. “34,” I said with a chuckle. “You are very wise…”

“Well, I think that life sometimes throws you some intense curve balls… they hurt and you hit rock bottom. But once you do, there are two options: to stay in the hole or crawl back up and out. I choose light. I choose to get up and get out of the hole. Things can feel bleak at times – you can dwell in the sadness or be optimistic and learn from every situation. Besides… growth comes from pain. You sometimes have to feel that pain to realize you are stronger than it. It builds you, it teaches you that you can make it out of times that wear you down.”

As the conversation continued, I told him that I believe that eventually a time comes when you stop worrying about what you cannot control and start focusing on what you can: Your self. How you react to a situation. Your point-of-view. Your attitude. Your choice on whether to irradiate brightness and light, or not. Who you decide to surround yourself with. These things may not change your situation, but they definitely have an impact on how you navigate your journey. Life is always going to have moments that, quite frankly, just suck. And, while it is essential that you feel the pain and emotions associated with these moments, it is also important to learn from them and make the next day a better one. I likened it to working out: at first, you feel like there is no way in HELL you can hold a plank for more than 5 seconds… until you can hold it for 60 and realize how strong your body and mind really are. He shared this optimism.

“But, yeah… this weather has been beautiful today,” I said as I watched people walking their dogs in Patterson Park. The sky was clear and the sunset was quite a sight.

“Thanks for such a great conversation!” he said as he dropped me off. I smiled, said good-bye and wished him a lovely weekend.

It had been an exhausting day – I had a lot on my plate and a lot on my mind. I listened and talked to friends who needed a different perspective, and worked on my own predicaments. But this ride reminded me that, even when you feel exhausted and like you can’t keep going, it’s going to be okay in the end.

As for my Uber driver? Great conversations always get five stars.

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Yona is a native Puerto Rican who splits her time between Puerto Rico and whatever U.S. city she currently calls home. She's now finishing up her PhD in public health and social media research. She loves writing about a little bit of everything and sharing her thoughts on life.

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