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….