It’s All About Perspective
When I was in high school, I had this little exercise that I would do with a very dear friend whenever she was having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. First, I would listen to what was wrong: the teacher who was unfair, her mother who was nagging her too much, the test she was certain she was about to bomb. Then, I would begin the long list of tragedies that did not befall her that day, and they would range from the mundane to the absurd, and she would have to repeat them after I said them. The list always ended with a slight variation on the same catastrophe. By the end, she was usually chilled out and sometimes even laughing.
Tonight, I am going to have to take a dose of my own medicine. Forgive me my mini-rant, but it’s part of the process. The things that are making me Fraulein GrumpyPants are:
- People are being very human lately and it’s making it hard to love them.
- I am bone-dead-tired. Non-stop 15-17-hour days for weeks and weeks with no break are taking their toll on me.
- Men are frustrating creatures. Especially some of them. Particularly one of them.
- I am more frustrated with myself than with anyone else.
- I just really, really, really need to have a day when I’m not trying to be four people in order to get caught up with being one person.
- The people I so desperately depend upon for my sanity and balance and sense of humor are all geographically far away and I want nothing more than to kidnap them and spend the day hiding in a blanket fort with cushions and Kit Kats and coffee and Netflix. Yes, my teacher-friends and readers, I know that that sentence was a grammatical train-wreck, but it was intentional.
Despite all that, though, there are things for which to be grateful. Some of them are:
- I did not lose a limb in a four-wheeling accident.
- I have never been bitten by a shark, a crocodile, or a rabid raccoon (or any raccoon for that matter).
- I have all my teeth. Well, minus my wisdom teeth.
- I have never had to live in Texas. Praise God.
- I have shaken Jon Bon Jovi’s hand. It was glorious.
- I have never had to walk miles to get water from a well and bring it home for others.
- I was never afraid that I would be killed simply for being a female student.
- I have never voted Republican.
- I have never quit a job because “my eyeballs were cold” (a real reason I got from an employee this week).
- I have never gotten my hair caught in an electric hand-mixer.
- And the traditional ending: I have never been, nor will I ever be, an actor in a herpes medication commercial.
There are more reasons to be grateful than to be grumpy, and I’m trying – honestly – to focus on them. Stress, anxiety, and a world full of negative messages are all working over-time to get me give up, but I won’t. This silly little activity is, in a way, a bit of cognitive behavior therapy, refocusing my thoughts from what is negative, stressful, and sometimes out-of-proportion to thoughts that are positive, comforting, and more reasonable. If, in the next week and a half before Christmas, you catch me dwelling on the irritations of the moment, please feel free to snap me out of it by reminding me that I don’t have an angry honey badger chewing on my ankle, because chances are, I will have forgotten that there are bigger problems than a misplaced email.