Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Blue Meanies

The Blue Meanies

Have you ever noticed that, when you wake up in the morning and certain things go right, you have a great day? By the same token, if certain things go wrong, your day can seem to go into the blue as quickly as you can say "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen ..."

It's like there's a parade of blue meanies out there waiting for you the moment you wake up, quirks and quarks that can turn a smile upside down, syrup into vinegar, laughter into the gnashing of teeth.

For me, waking these days means checking in at the Meniscus Motel. My whole day seems to hinge on whether or not my bum knee is acting up. Some days, I do the hop, skip, and tumble down the hallway to the bathroom, and I know it's going to be one of those days of ice packs and Advil. You'd think that, after months of this same problem, I'd be accustomed to the ongoing ritual of rehab, rehab, and more rehab. Unfortunately, the scenario always seems to sour the entire day. Things that I like suddenly don't seem so likeable. My Tickle Me Elmo turns into Oscar the Grouch.

I know that I'm not alone in this. People everywhere probably have some sort of similar dilemma. For some, it's probably something physical as well. A sore back, a sore arm, a toothache, an upset stomach, a headache, a pimple on the end of your nose, well the list is probably endless. Any one of these maladies can quickly ruin an entire day. For others, maybe it's a interpersonal thing. If the kids, the husband, the wife, or even the dog seem a little snarky, then it's been my experience that such snarkiness can be contagious, and even if you woke up feeling pretty great, in seemingly no time at all, you have the snark too.

Such a waste of such precious time.

I'm not sure that there is a solution to this dilemma. Ignoring these dastardly nuisances never seems to work. Once you're into a "woe-from-head-to-toe" mode, it's like you're stuck there for at least the rest of the day, and to be honest, things often seem to go from bad to worse.

The best I can offer is that you might want to push the pause button for a few moments, and take some time to reaffirm some of the good things about being alive. It's all about permission, isn't it? We permit ourselves to feel happy or sad. The aches, the pains, the moods of others, these things are like sour suite jazz drifting out from a mysteriously dark corner of Easy Street. No one forces us to enter and be a part of the downcast, downhearted, melancholy scene. For whatever reason, we swing through the door because we want to, not because we have to. How you spend your life is a decision you make. Nothing in your life and no one in your life makes that decision for you. Self-pity is a choice. Happiness is also a choice.

A good friend of mine once caught me in an interesting hypothetical.

"If you knew today was your last day to live," he asked, "what would you change?"

Now, I'm not a big fan of hypotheticals, especially apocalyptic ones, but I answered as best as I could.

"First of all," I suggested, "I probably wouldn't be here doing the usual nothings. I'd be off living life to the max and filling the day with as much experience as I possibly could."

He looked at me with one of those Cheshire Cat smirks, and wondered, "Well, shouldn't every day be like that? Who is to say which day will be your last?"

Who is to say, indeed?



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