What if the man upstairs only has one leg?

What if the man upstairs only has one leg?

Photo credit: GollyGforce per Creative Commons license.

Note: I wrote this post last week, before my husband, our daughter and I all lost our jobs this week. I hesitated to post it because, quite frankly, I’ve been spending some time catastrophizing about losing our house, etc. I do still believe that negative energy attracts more negative energy, so I’m doing my best to keep a positive outlook. It’s just a lot more challenging when our little family is facing this situation.


While listening to Says You a few months back, I enjoyed their discussion of the phrase “Waiting for the other shoe to drop”. It’s an expression with which I’m very familiar, had often used and understood, but had never considered its origins. As it sounds, it actually does come from hearing a person (perhaps in an upstairs apartment) drop their shoe, and then waiting for the other one to drop. I know, pretty straightforward, right?

Recently, I realized I seem to spend a lot of time waiting for the other shoe to drop. Something goes really well in my life and I’m waiting for it all to end or for the next catastrophe to befall me. Something goes wrong, and I’m girding myself for the other two disasters (we all know that bad things come in threes…)

Considering I’m rather optimistic by nature, I find this rather strange. I mean, I’m the ideas person, the one who always has a creative solution to most problems, the one who performs really well when my back is against the wall. I like to think of myself as the ideas version of MacGyver – I couldn’t escape from an enemy compound with a paper clip and a piece of baling twine, but I can usually find creative ideas that prevent me from needing to go that route in the first place. I can always find a way to “Make it Work”.

In my examination of this mindset, I may have found part of the key: I expect to have to find a way to “Make it Work”. I have developed the belief that the other shoe will drop, it’s only a matter of when.


Photo credit: Commons.Wikimedia.org

But then an interesting, perhaps even life-changing thought came to me – What if the man upstairs only has one leg? What if I’m waiting for a disaster that never comes? What if I’m missing out on being truly happy right now because this little corner of my brain insists on holding on to its fear? By waiting for the thump of that other shoe, I’m ransoming the happiness of fully experiencing the joys of the moment to fears created by my own mind.

Bringing this formerly undiscovered belief to the surface is the first step in eradicating it. I’m now focusing on creating “What if’s” that end in a hopeful possibility as opposed to a dance with doom. Being a student of many things New-Age and touchy-feely, I fully believe (at least consciously) that if I spend my energy negatively, I’ll attract more negative energy. So today, I’m going to tap into the positive nature I know is the real me.  I’m going to enjoy this day. My “what-ifs” will travel through the realms of delightful possibilities and positive outcomes; and if I hear a shoe drop, I’ll just know that my one-legged upstairs neighbor is home.