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New Year’s Attitude Adjustment

Let’s all resolve to stop whining and start thinking positive before I smack you.

It’s resolution time again, and everyone I know is concocting their admirable, if not impossible, goals for the New Year:

“I’m going to lose 50 pounds. By February.”

“I’m going to climb Mt. Kiliminjaro. Twice.”

”I’m going to stop drunk online shopping.”

Whew. All these lofty goals make me wanna veg on my couch with a bag of chips and a martini, surfing the net for sales. This year, I’m proposing a simpler change: how about we all make a vow to stop whining and start thinking positive?

As an amateur optimist, I can tell you, a little tweak in the old attitude can go a long way to creating a happier New Year. For you. Me. And everyone around us.

Like Shakespeare said in some play I was forced to read in Honors English and have long since mostly forgotten: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Which, through Cliff Notes and life experience I have come to realize means, if you are standing in a really long return line at Toys R Us, there are two attitudes to cop. One, you could sigh violently, grumble about the lack of salespeople and that lady up front with two carts full of stuff to return on 17 different receipts, and otherwise make those around you, and yourself, miserable.

Or, you could recognize that it is in fact the day after Christmas, it is what it is, and kvetching about it won’t pass the time any faster. And you can use that time to file your nails, phone a friend, or surf the internet on your smartphone.

See? Happiness is a decision, and often, the choice is ours.

Every so I often, I like to reread the “Optimist Creed” I have hanging on my wall, promising myself, among other things, “to be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.”  This mantra comes in handy when my family does things I can’t control, like wrestling each other all over the living room floor and knocking down the Christmas tree.

Inhale, exhale. I never did mind about the little things.

I’m not saying you have to run out and join some optimist club, but would it kill you to smile and say hello if you pass someone walking down the street? Neighbor, you know who you are. You and I are the only two people on the sidewalk, let alone the only two people for miles. I’m coming from one direction, you the other, and we actually have to shift our paths slightly to pass each other. And you’re going to look down and ignore me? REALLY??? Even after I’ve nodded and mouthed “Hi”??!! Is it that hard to make eye contact and acknowledge you’ve encountered another person of the same species on the planet? Or are you afraid I’m going to mug you -- in my matching tracksuit?

And while we’re at, Curmudgeons, do you have to give me the evil eye if my shopping cart is blocking your path down the supermarket aisle? It’s not a drive-thru convenience store. I can’t just run down the aisles throwing crap in my cart like I’m on that game show Supermarket Sweep. That grocery aisle is HUGE and overloaded with 15,000 boxes of oversugared cereal. It might take me a second to actually find some fat-free granola. Next time, smile and say excuse me. I’ll get the hint and get out of your way ASAP. I came here to shop, not to deliberately ruin your already crappy day.

Then there are you Restaurant Complainers. We all know these winners. Folks who are unhappy with the table they’re seated at, overly critical of the waiters’ performance, impatient for their food and chronically disappointed in their meal. Pssst: if you have enough money to be eating out, you are luckier than two thirds of the world’s population, and you didn’t have to cook the food yourself. You’re out spending time with loved ones, and after, there won’t be any dishes to clean. Unless you’re P-Diddy and you just dropped three grand on sushi and Cristal that was still somehow subpar, stop whining. Especially if you are at a diner or any restaurant that’s part of a franchise.

And, Sports Parents, how about we resolve to improve our attitude this year too? Screaming at the ref is not exactly the best way to model sportsmanship. And please stop getting pissed off at the coach for benching your kid. He most likely took the job because the other parents like you didn’t want it. And believe it or not, there are other kids on the team. Everyone must get playing time. And if yours gets the least out of everyone, maybe you should accept the fact that this might not be your kid's sport, give up your dream of living vicariously through him, and switch him to another one, or better yet, band. That, or volunteer to be the Coach next time, if you really think you can do a better job.

Oh, and I've got a newsflash for the Pick-Up Moms. Your kid goes to this school. So does mine. They might even be friends. I’m parked here to pickup my child, same as you. You’re really not going to let my car go in front of yours to exit the lot, and you’re gonna give me a dirty look and cut me off? Awesome! Is your Jake or Ashley’s karate, soccer and piano practice that you have to rush off to really that much more important than everyone else’s? Cut off strangers on the Parkway if it makes you feel good, but be a little courteous to fellow school parents like me who could potentially end up coaching your kids. Otherwise, no playing time for them. See above.

And this one goes out to all my loved ones: if I look tired, you don’t need to tell me I look tired. Are you trying to make me feel as miserable as I look? I have eyes. I have mirrors I choose to avoid. Obviously I know I look tired. I don’t go around telling you how bloated you look, or how much I hate that stupid sweater you’re wearing from Kohl’s, do I? No, I don’t because I choose happiness and optimism, even if it means letting you walk around in your own bad-fashion choice of ignorant bliss. Do me a solid and return the favor.

Whew, that felt good. With a new year starting, I’m so happy to get all that off my chest. I feel positively…positive!  Here’s to a new, brighter, shinier attitude. Are you with me people?

Because, if you’re not, go complain about me to someone else. Nah nah nah nah nah. I’m not listening….

Carol Feddeler Bruno January 01, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Amen Sista!!
erika January 01, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Nicely stated. Happy new year!
dawn lasko January 01, 2012 at 03:39 PM
As a fellow Optimist, and one who chooses to take the high rode, I am in total agreement here!!! My choices reflect my beautiful life!! And yours will too! HNY everyone! Best of luck to you all!
Paul January 01, 2012 at 05:09 PM
While we are getting things off our chest. This goes out to the coward who likes to continuously flash his high beams in my rear view mirror. Don't be so suprised when you have succeeded in making me angry. I was really disappointed when you rushed off in your orange reddish chevy pick up truck. I was just going to get out of my car and personally introduce myself to you. If you are going to act manly and aggressive at least be man enough to hang around for my personal introduction. I am just saying.....
Jessica Lotito January 01, 2012 at 06:32 PM
This "optimistic" piece of writing turned into one big rant about all things that bother the author... The "toys r us line" part gave us some options about how to "be positive" but the rest of the article taught us how not to piss off the author. LOL!
Amber Wright January 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I agree - the tone of this optimistic article feels like anything but. My feeling - if you are in the supermarket have enough courtesy & common sense not to block the aisle - don't park your cart across from another or in front of a display. In this economy going out to dinner is a treat - it should feel that way and the managers of restaurants should make sure their staff are doing a great job & the food should be good and if it isn't we as the consumer have the right to complain about it! As far as threatening to not play a kid who you may coach because their parent "cut you off" - if your driving your car is anything like your driving your supermarket cart I can understand why - well that just makes you mean not optimistic. There are really great articles on optimism out there - this unfortunately is not one - but like the other commenter stated more of a rant about how not to piss off this author or things this author finds annoying. I was left offended and annoyed - not encouraged and optimistic.
Christina Warren January 02, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Michelle you are a woman after my own heart! Maybe that optimism will rub off on some of our town criers. Hope you have a blessed New Year and maybe I'll see you in the pick up line at school. HAVE A NICE DAY!
Tammy January 02, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Get out of my head Michelle Sasso!! <3 this! PS I would totally respond to some comments above if I wasnt trying to be so Optimistic!! LOL
Christina Warren January 02, 2012 at 03:51 PM
PS. If you can not learn to loosen the belt buckle and laugh at these things, you have not reached your optimistic height! These are the things that agrivate us all, she may have not stated it the best way you would have, but hey she IS the writer. Learn to laugh and let it go!
Amber Wright January 02, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I guess you know her - but I do not see optimism - I see someone complaining about others complaining, someone threatening not to allow a kid to play sports because - in her opinion the parent cut her off, someone who thinks she can park her cart and block the aisle while searching for granola - here is a hint - push your cart with you while you search - this way you wont block the aisle and can move to allow others to get by - who may have Dr. appointments, to pick up their kids and yes they shoot you a dirty look for being so inconsiderate, self absorbed, unaware or have a lack of common sense on how to be a courteous shopper and move your cart with you - not abandon it blocking the aisle in search of anything - I'm optimistic that perhaps now she will do so.
Christina Warren January 02, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Ouch! Sounds like you have been burned alot this season! I feel your pain! Not to dismiss you have obviously been on the other side, this article was just not for you. Here's to hoping for a better 2012!
Amber Wright January 02, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Not at all - just found this article to have a holier-than-thou quality while dismissing her own bad behavior. Think one should examine ones own behavior before writing a rant like this - she did not come across as optimistic to me - she might be a very nice person but threatening to bench a kid because his mother cut her off leaving the parking lot sounds petty - not optimistic - disagree? Leaving your cart to block the aisle while you search for granola seems entitled not optimistic. What about those she blocks who actually are in a rush and are annoyed that she wasn't courteous enough to keep her cart with her and out of the way? They are curmudgeons? I think not. Sounded like a spoiled, entitled rant to me - just my opinion but if you are going to post an opinion like this one be prepared for dissent.
Christina Warren January 02, 2012 at 07:04 PM
It is not her morals and values that I am applauding here, it is the simple fact of finding the positive in all the negative. See, I do not award her nature in thinking that if you cut her off she will bench your kid in soccer or her rude comment about, if their not good enough for sports, put them in band. I happen to have an avid love for music and support our children in that area! I could have taken quite an offense, however, what I received from this piece is the awareness of one seeing the total lack of love or appreciation for the neighbor. If we all took the opportunity to treat others as if they carry more of an importance than self, treating others as if they have a greatness and they are not just an annoyance and intrusion in our day. Dismissing even their quirks and bad verbal expressions. That is the positive I have pulled out of this negative. She is only stating the obvious (with a little harshness) and if I had said the same thing but with a little more of a curvaceous tone to my words, I probably would have had a few more Amens! I don't think that it requires her demise, maybe a little more care with words and euphemisms. Que sera sera… I still plan on making my new year brighter and treating others better. Hope you will too. Happy New Year!
Paul January 02, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Now now ladies!! Pull the claws back in.....:)
Amber Wright January 03, 2012 at 03:57 AM
My point was I do not think she is celebrating optimism and positiveness with her comments - I found them rude on many fronts. My commenting on her article says nothing about the new year - her article was negative and my pointing it out doesnt make me negative - just intelligent. I think she is the one who needs an attitude adjustment - and no it is not just her wording - it is her mindset. The sad thing is she thinks she is a positive, optimistic person. there are many positive articles on this site - this, in my opinion, is not one of them. @ Paul, 2 women discussing an article does not constitute a cat fight, just sayin...
Christina Warren January 03, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Point taken, and on some points I get where your coming from. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. It's nice to have a good conversation though,thank you! Maybe we'll meet up on the pick up line at school :)
Michelle Sassa January 03, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I thought I politely requested everyone complain about me to someone else? LOL. Happy new year to those who get my humor and who I made smile. The rest of you, your happiness is up to u!
Brian Sullivan January 03, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Michelle, I got your humor, which is similar to mine. I thought the article was well done and on the spot.
Paul January 03, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Good Morning Everybody, Michelle I enjoyed your article as well as all the discussion that ensued. I don't always read all the articles on here, but I do read quite a few and this article has received the most responses out of all that I have ever read. So my hat is off to you Michelle. As Christians we are asked to be humble, but sometimes I think we need to address peoples bad behavior. Why allow that person to continuously be obnoxious and cause everyone else grief? Why not shed some words of wisdom. You can choose to do this politely or be harsh if the person is not getting the message. Just maybe, you will have saved someone else from having a bad day by applying a little attitude adjustment to the offender???? Perhaps....... Just saying..... @Amber: I was just playing with you all. If you were here right now I would kiss your big intelligent brain to let you know that I Love You!!
Peggy Devlin Blazewicz January 03, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Michelle, you are correct! Like positivity, happiness is a choice! People that focus on the negative forget that they are choosing to be miserable. For those people I strongly suggest a daily routine of remembering all the things for which they are thankful. I find that helps.
Christina Warren January 04, 2012 at 01:46 AM
He he he, I like your optimism!!

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