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Surviving a Grumpiness Epidemic

Surviving a Grumpiness Epidemic

This post is from July 31, 2012, slightly modified. It deserves a second debut.

How do you stay happy when things are going wrong for everyone else?

I am facing the grumpies on several fronts right now. I’d love to be the vaccine for helping these loved ones get past the bad things that have happened, but instead, I seem to be getting sucked deeper and deeper into Grumpyville.

Unless you’re Oscar the Grouch, grumpy is not a preferred state. Most of the time, you don’t even realize how negative you’ve become. Right now,my sweetie, who has been pretty upbeat about dealing with all the ups and downs of cancer treatment has bronchitis. He’s over the chemotherapy drill and on the mend in terms of “The Big Thing.” So it surprises me that he is being this impatient with a cough and some chest congestion. He does not sound good, I assure you. But it’s a temporary dilemma.

But he’s angry because he was finally starting to feel better after a long, long time of butt dragging. He’s impatient that what was starting to happen has yet again been delayed. It’s understandable, but that doesn’t mean the moans and the sighs and the complaints don’t affect me.

Photo by Dennis O’Donnell

I forget that sometimes. That I’m not invincible to other people’s woes. I feel bad for him, sure. But it’s getting to me. I’m starting with the sighing, too. What’s with that?

On top of that, my three-year-old granddaughter is in a grumpy phase. She is not a happy girl right now. Lots of things have changed for her recently. She has a little sister when before she was a one-girl show. Her mommy just went back to work after maternity leave. And Daddy, who used to be there whenever she needed him, is now already at work when she wakes up in the morning.

Her solution to all these changes? Scowl–fiercely and often. I never thought I would be afraid of a three-year-old but she has a formidable countenance when she’s not happy.

And then there are “the usual” frustrations.   Some local ne’er do wells rammed into the gate to the subdivision again over the weekend.  (I know, if there weren’t a gate it would not be a problem but….)  People are upset over what Mitt Romney said in Europe and what Barack Obama said at home.  Lots and lots of people are either angry or sullen.

How do I not end up being the same just by association?

I guess the first step is to realize that’s what I’m being exposed to.  But there’s more that I can do for myself, isn’t there?

Hmmm.  I guess the big thing is to tell myself often and firmly, “That’s not where I want to go.”  But what else?

  • Look for beauty. Everywhere. It creates its own joy.
  • Get outside and MOVE. The act of getting your body from Point A to Point B lifts your mood.
  • Stay away from the grumpy people on the periphery. You don’t need a ten minute conversation with someone in line at the grocery store who’s not happy about life.
  • Don’t bother with the news until the grumpy time is past with those closer to you.
  • Laugh at it when you can.  I need to do this with the three-year old particularly.  She’ll get past it and it will be easier on both of us if I don’t buy in at all.
  • Remember “This too shall pass.”  Because it will.

We all hit a rough patch now and then.  But it is important not to let “grumpy” become your M.O.