Broken Shower Heads, Dirty Sheets, and Other Vacation Disasters

Finding Your Inner Happiness During External Chaos

The 10% of my happiness that is based on external circumstances was thoroughly challenged during Spring Break this year. In fact, it’s constantly being challenged.

The resort we stayed in, supposedly a “gold crown” property, was awful. Our unit was an absolute wreck—mirrors with gigantic rust spots, cabinets hanging off the hinges, dirt smeared across the walls and ceiling, hair on the walls and floor, pillows that looked like they’d been dragged across the floor, dirty cheap sheets, broken shower head, a toilet that ran all night, paint splattered everywhere. You get the picture. It was absolutely filthy and my wee bit (I’m being dramatic here) of OCD and need for cleanliness kicked in high gear.

I was completely out of sorts and went down the tunnel of bitchiness, depression, and major pissed off-ness in rapid succession. I was literally letting it ruin my vacation! My first two days were spent sulking and crying, full of anger and completely 100% resisting the current circumstance. And all the while, I kept thinking about what the happiness research says: “10% of your happiness is based on your external circumstances.” Yeah, right … blah, blah, blah.

I simply could not shake myself out of these destructive thoughts. My husband kept trying to see the bright side of things and counsel the Happiness Coach back to her blissful state. But it was not working.

So on Day 2, I basically went ape-shit crazy. I marched down to the reception desk (the fourth time I’d paid them a visit) and told them exactly what I thought about the situation—with an audience of about 20 people who were preparing to check in!

Finally, we were moved to a nicer unit. (Why does it always take us losing our “shit” for this to happen?) It still wasn’t the best, but it was certainly better. And that’s when I made a conscious decision. I can continue to RESIST the current situation, or I can move my thoughts towards positive. The blue ocean, time with my family, a couple of nice fruity drinks, and the fact that at least the showerhead in this unit wasn’t broken. Little by little, I found my way back to my happiness and arrived back at a positive state come Day 3.

The point of this story is that we will always have obstacles and challenges to deal with. And the goal should be to not let the pissed off-ness, disappointment, sadness, etc., get the better of us. I absolutely had to feel those emotions the first couple of days. But I knew that if I stayed stuck in those feelings, I was making a conscious choice to not be happy.

So many things in life truly come down to making a choice. And for me, living with a slightly tarnished “gold crown” room is a small thing to overcome in exchange for quality time in a beautiful place with the people I love most.

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