As I continue waging the battle against aging, the thing I fear most is becoming a crotchety old curmudgeon who likes nothing and tells everyone he or she knows about all their dark views. Yes, women can become curmudgeons too and there is some evidence it is showing up in my daily interactions.
To wit: I toured a beautiful home in Tennessee recently which was picture perfect. Truly. We hadn’t gotten out the door good when we began listing all the tackiness we could spot. “Could you believe they had an ashtray in the coffee table – An ashtray for Pete’s sake!”
And another thing: I wouldn’t know a Kardashian if they hit me in the nose. I don’t like most pop stars (or music) and I’m only made aware of their existence through other people. I’ll take Frank Sinatra over Miley Cyrus any day.
I think most reality television is trashy and is not only dumbing down our society but teaching us to be the worst variations of humanity. As globalization makes the world smaller and digital information grows like a wildfire, we become so bogged down in the minutiae that we lose sight of the bigger picture.
It bothers me profusely that we choose to look at celebrity pregnancy photos instead of being informed about the truly inspirational everyday folks. See a pattern forming here? Yes, the longer we live, the more we have to complain about!
We don’t go to bed a perky, positive person and wake up a curmudgeon. Life happens day by day and sometimes we are just carried along in increasingly intolerable wave of circumstances, Honestly, being negative and irritable is easy; it’s seeing the silver lining and being happy that’s difficult. Here are a few suggestions that seem to work for me.
How to postpone curmudgeondom:
* Find a good like-minded friend (mine happens to live in another town). We call ourselves the B****(rhymes with witch) Buddies and we love to get together by phone and complain about all there is to complain about. I have to put my phone on the charger after one of our sessions which are taking place more and more often. The trick is to emerge from the session knowing you’re been heard and have grown sick of complaining;
* Don’t leave home with stains on your shirt, I often knowingly wear a shirt with a coffee stain on it, only to exclaim Oh! Look at that! I must have *just* done that! when someone pointed it out to me later in the day. I even pretend to try and blot it. No one is fooled. You can tell it’s been washed six times to no avail;
* Get yourself a Boston Terrier. They are little people in dog costumes who can’t talk and whose complete raison d’etre is makes you smile. (My French is improving – did I tell you I’ve decided to become French?) If I had to prescribe one guaranteed solution to curmudgeondom, I’d say, get a dog to snooze beside you on the couch and live like French woman who has perfected the art of imperfection.. As an added bonus, a dog will serve as kitchen help, licking up your spills eagerly and eating your mistakes.
* Never stand on your front yard yelling “You kids get off my lawn!” Rocking on your front porch with an unloaded shotgun propped beside you does nicely but could get you arrested which will be a whole new adventure. A night spent in jail would certainly add a new twist to your stories when you get really, really old.
The first step to overcoming negative thinking isn’t to ‘just be positive’ all of a sudden. That can come across as completely phony and Polly Anna-ish. Start looking for shades of grey and people may stop avoiding you altogether