We have all dropped the glass, glass shards all over the floor, broken the egg, dunked the cell phone (sometimes twice in the same pool), opened the carbonated bottle too fast, bubbles spewing everywhere, spilled the paint, the wine, the soup, the coffee, the oil, and … the milk.
Spilled milk; the metaphor for that little thing that didn’t go your way, probably today - or ten minutes ago, cause let’s be honest. Life is FULL of spilled milk - and most often, just when you are on your way out the door - and five minutes late. It. Just. Is.
Last night I had an event at the school. I was to be on stage in business attire at 5:15pm, with a presentation to parents to follow. At 4:40 I discovered I was locked out of my office - business attire and presentation notes inside.
I sent a few frazzled messages to chat groups asking for clothes, but the moments faded away and I found peace in what was. Worse things could have happened.
No one was hurt. No one was sick. No one was in danger. No one died.
By 5:05pm I lost hope that a key might be found to open the door. I graced the stage unshowered, and in a dress that a fellow coach was kind enough to give me off her body. I settled for the running shoes I was wearing and the presentation - well, I had created it - so the nuts and bolts were in my head and in my heart.
Running shoes, dress, unwaxed legs, no presentation notes, and materials missing from presentation summed up to a laughable evening that I could only have fun with after I realized that’s what I was dealt with for the night. That was my hand.
Life is a game of cards. You can buckle and fold when things don’t measure up to what you consider a good hand, you can bluff, you can play the blame game and accuse people of playing unfairly, OR, you can hold on to your “I really don’t give two shits” chips. Just hold em - don’t give ‘em, don’t bluff, just hold on and let go of the need to give two shits. Cause when the milk is spilled, remember, no no one is hurt, no one is sick, no one is in danger, no one is dead. Grab a piece of toilet paper or an old rag, and carry on.
Cause the reality is, people are hurt - call them. People are sick - check in on them. People are in danger - lend a hand. People (and our planet) are dying - care.
Spilled milk is just a reminder that there are bigger fish to fry - or better yet … no fish at all.
Like it is - according to Vail
We all know the saying goes, “don’t cry over spilled milk.” However, when it spills, sometimes there are tears. In my mind there are two types of spillage and sometimes I think it is ok to break the rules and let it out. What is the milk after all? The milk is the little mistakes that you make that aren’t supposed to hurt that much, but sometimes they do.
Type 1: I spilled my own milk.
There are moments in life when you leave your computer behind you and it gets stolen in Starbucks. There are moments when you leave the gym, pregnant, and you drop your keys in the middle of the street, rendering yourself momentarily homeless. There are moments when you are in a rush and you crash your car into a beam in the parking lot.
What makes this your own milk is that for the most part, it affects you. You did it to yourself and you are left dealing with the consequences. I used to get scary mad at myself over this spillage. I would call myself stupid, beat myself up about it and not be able to let go. (Let’s be honest… this is still sometimes my immediate reaction.). We have been programed to think that mistakes make us bad, therefore often make us sad. The more and more I have spilled my own milk, however, the more and more I really do believe these can be opportunities to grow and learn. When you spill your milk, you might actually remember not to put it on the edge of the table next time.
Type 2: I spilled my milk on someone
These are the moments that you say something about someone and they were listening. These are the moments when you forgot your dad’s birthday. These are the moments when you buy a “best friend” necklace with a friend, when you already own one with another friend. Here is where I consider myself kind of an expert. There is visceral feeling I still get when I think about these milk spilling incidents in my life. These ones don’t just affect you, they affect someone else. The clean up here isn’t easy and you often are not in control. You can apologize, take actions to try to rectify the situation. But, in the end, you did it. You spilled the milk on them and they are wearing the dirty clothes. Not you. In my mind, there is only one way to clean up this kind of mess and that reflection and again, growth. I actually think these moments have been the ones where I have imprinted on my heart the kind of better person I can and want to be.
A final note: Crying
Though I don’t run around the city crying at the drop of a hat or a glass of milk, I think it is ok to cry. Quite often when we spill the milk and the tears flow, it wasn’t just the milk. It was the million of things that lead up to the milk. As I keep learning and remembering all the time, everyone has a story that we don’t completely know and understand. So, the next time someone spills the milk and the tears start flowing, pick up a rag and help them out. PS. To all the breastfeeding moms out there, this is for you. You are extra allowed to cry when you spill the milk you just pumped.