What bothers me on a daily basis?
Honestly, a lot. When one looks at how vast the possible experiences of life there is, anyone can be bombarded by things that are annoying, depressing or just plain disruptive to the peace of mind one has.
There will always be bad news, or terrible life events, or just the weather not going the way I would like it. But Epictetus says that these are the reasons I should be vigilant and protect the peace I keep.
“Keep constant guard over your perceptions, for it is no small thing you are protecting, but your respect, trustworthiness and steadiness, peace of mind, freedom from pain and fear, in a word your freedom. For what would you sell these things?”
Today, my stoicism was tested. When I locked my phone in the car, I had no cash, and my father who had the keys couldn’t be found. Because the phone was in the car, I had no way of contacting my father, and I was out of options on what to do.
I had the opportunity to bitch about the situation, I could get angry at my father who suddenly disappeared without telling where he went, and I had no idea what to do next. I was guessing possible locations, of where my father would go, but there was a chance that I won’t find him there, which means I could be wasting time.
I was very annoyed, and very angry, and just wanted to scream my lungs out.
But why should I? Why should fall into the anger brought about by something I couldn’t have possibly anticipated? Why get myself riled up? When complaining will only expend energy, and won’t solve anything.
So I waited.
Was it a long wait? Definitely. But I did not let that bother me, so instead I just began thinking about how I could maintain my peace. I tried not to dwell on anger, and I diffused it, and before I knew it when I met my father. I wasn’t angry, I was just glad that I could get access to my phone again.
Today nothing disturbed my peace of mind, and I plan to keep doing it for the rest of my life!