Hampstead Heath, London NW3. It was a Monday Morning. The walk to the tube was bitterly cold. Cold and wet. AKA a lovely Spring day in London. I had joined my commuting crew in our daily ritual of sardining into the lift down to the platform, where we’d all pile on top of each other in a train to go to work in the city.
PICTURE THIS: Wall-to-wall, body-on-body action in a metal, hollow tube, traveling at 40mph. And that’s not the uncomfortable bit. NOBODY TALKS TO EACH OTHER. In fact, you can be french-kissing close to a stranger for at least 5 stops without as much as catching their eyes. “Shall we?”, I jest with my ‘riding partner’ in a rare eye-catching glance. I wanted to dance. The dapper gentleman pinned to me wasn’t biting.
We ride on a few more moments and then come to a screeching halt. The smell of burning wires was thick in the air. Still, hardly anyone looked up. Even my riding partner wasn’t phased and considered it a mild inconvenience at best. After recovering from the initial shock, it hit me. I had a thought that I was forgetting something but couldn’t place what it may be. “Um… Sorry ’bout that everyone,” said our driver over the crackling PA system. “We’ve encountered a slight problem and will be stuck here until further notice.”
I’m not a nervous traveler. I’ve clocked over 500,000 real air miles covering the planet. I just didn’t figure on checking out courtesy of a tube on the Underground. Not today. I’m on my way to an important meeting with a global bank and I… I remember what I forgot. My bag. I left it at home with my laptop still charging after pulling an all-nighter in prep for the meeting. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to go home, that is if we survived at all. In that moment, I began to become undone.
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UNDONE 3. formal or humorous (of a person) ruined by a disastrous or devastating setback or reverse: I am undone!
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I felt myself unraveling on the inside and out. Everything began to agitate me. I didn’t want to dance with my riding partner anymore. He was now invading my personal space. I wanted to punch his face. I remembered the fight I had with my wife the night before and that I was a lousy parent, etc. Disregard the drama. You get my drift. I was sinking fast and there seemed no way out, literally!
In a brief moment of calm, I thought about the word ‘undone’ and why we use it when we feel helpless or out of control. I realized what a perfect word that it was to describe our condition. We are “un-done”, or unfinished. We’ve got work to do. If we didn’t, then these situations, people, places, and life wouldn’t get under our skin.
So, next time you begin to feel undone. Stop and think about the little things that you can do to be OK with the fact that we’re all a work in progress. That we’ve done remarkably well to get to this point and we’ll keep soldiering on as that’s what we do. We live in this unfinished space for a reason. When you figure it out, let me know. Until then, I’ll keep soldiering on too.
At least this blog is not undone. Word.