Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 11/17/2011 [Archive]

Martha's Big Adventure - That's Not Funny

Martha's Big Adventure — That's Not Funny

By Martha Randolph Carr

I usually have a pretty good sense of humor and can roll with the punches. When the toilet overflowed on my birthday and took every towel in the house with it, I looked at is as an opportunity to really clean every nook and cranny.

When I left my cell phone behind after a meeting and had to drive back across town, track down the maintenance men who didn't speak English and do a fast game of charades I marveled at how nothing bad had really happened.

But occasionally the little things in life that reach out to grab us and remind us we're human can start to add up and I find my sense of fun draining away. I'm in one of those funks.

Everything is not only harder to process through my brain it seems to take longer. The urge to answer a simple, how are you, with a long list is almost overwhelming. People on the train who are engaging in personal hygiene, playing their music so loudly that we can hear it through their headphones or are preaching at the top of their lungs are suddenly the focus of my inner frustration.

Fortunately, I keep all of that to myself and seek out someone to reason things out with who will tell me to get over myself and get on with things. I believe her exact words were, get your head out of your butt and go be of service to somebody else.

That's exactly the type of pragmatic dose of reality that I need to get back to a sunnier side of thinking. I've learned through calling way too many friends, or serial dialing that further analysis will only dig me further into the hole of gloom where nothing is ever going to work out and I'm a giant victim. Nothing good has ever happened or will ever come to pass.

I am stuck in my own thoughts whirling around in my head that can be further fed by long, heart-felt discussions, self-help books, advice from more than one person or stewing in my own thinking without ever asking for help.

Any reminders that the whole world isn't actually about me and I'm here to be of service, so cut it out, are exactly what I need to hear. There's no need to hear my tragic stories from my past because they're not actually happening to me right now. Bringing them up again was my old way of letting people know I was special, if only in a pathetic way, which was better than nothing.

But the consequences of all those laments piled on top of each other was that I was missing the things that were going right, and there are always things that are working out.

A short gratitude list doesn't just let me know that there is a few things left that haven't broken down. I can also quickly see that things work out in the end if I give it enough time and can find a few other things instead of obsessively watching the clock.

That's where the idea of service comes in handy. Looking for someone else to help, even if it's a ride to the store or an ear to listen and reason out their day or fixing dinner and inviting others over gives me a way to reconnect with the world from a positive place. I'm not alone in it. I'm a small piece of a giant puzzle that fits right into my spot. Once again, I'm reminded that life keeps on happening but it's not necessarily happening to me and there are still things that need doing, together with family and friends. More adventure to follow. Tweet me @MarthaRandolph with what you're grateful for today. Email Martha at

© 2011 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Download Martha Randolph Carr's black and white mug shot photo.

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