At the same time that I’ve been thinking about “happiness,” I’ve also been reflecting on attitude and what goes into what makes up our attitude towards the day in front of us.
Most of the time, I’ve been optimistic and upbeat about problem-solving. And believe me, there’s been lots of adversity in both my personal and professional lives. I tend to be pretty direct which sometimes gets me in trouble with people. I’m sometimes so clueless that I don’t even notice this until after I’ve said something that might have come out the wrong way.
You know what they say about a glass being half empty and a glass half full, don’t you? That there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who feel shortchanged and dissatisfied no matter what their lives are like; and those, who see the world as benefiting them, no matter what hardships and shortfalls they still face. What accounts for that, do you think? There are lots of rich people who aren’t happy and lots of poor who are. It’s sometimes seems as though how you look at things and what perspective you gain from them is the only reality that we actually have.
Since I’ve been injured, I’ve had some stunning insights about how almost nothing matters except family and showing love to each other. This is where I’ve said that it’s a waste of energy to sweat the small stuff, and almost everything is “small stuff.” Then, after other setbacks and injuries in our household the last couple of months, I’ve noticed that the pendulum has slowly swung back the other way: and that some days it feels like we are irritated and overwhelmed by “small stuff.” And that small stuff somehow becomes really important again.
You know what? It’s not worth it. I think that depression has something to do with feeling worse. One of the things that bothers me is thinking about age. Which in reality is really dumb because there’s absolutely nothing you can do about your age. I met someone last week who is a dozen years younger than I am but her attitude towards her life is full of fear and anger about how to manage when she’s older. It was so depressing.
On most days, I’m the one who is making sure that things look up: that there’s freshly sliced ham and cheese in the fridge for sandwiches for lunch to feed the hungry guys who help G. move pianos (as they are doing right now.) Yesterday, I drove to a nursery in the next town to pick up two flats of heavenly blue morning glories to plant along the barn. Their brilliant blooms on foggy mornings in October and November lift our spirits every year. They’ll have to turn on the water and bring up the hoses so we can water the seedlings when they’re planted.
I also picked up kitchen herb plants to set up outside the back door on our third floor deck: flat-leaved parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary and a large basil plant. We’ll clear out the iron hibachi grill we have out there and this weekend, maybe we’ll grill some marinated baby back ribs for supper.
Up here, I filled two containers of water to tend the orchids on the shelf in the plant/bird room. It was easier to carry them in my lap using the wheelchair than trying to carry them using a crutch. There are about six flowering orchid plants right now, some needed propping up on stakes and I rearranged them so that there was more space for them to breathe.
Tonight, we’re having chicken wings, marinated in some teriyaki sauce that I’ll add some fresh garlic and sliced green onions to and broil them to golden crispy goodness. In the NYTimes food page last week, I read about a garlic crusher that allows you to push down on cloves of garlic that instantly crush them but hold them together so that you can scoop them out wherever you need them–in a pan or marinade. Some yellow squash and onions sauteed together will accompany the barbecue chicken wings. Yum!
So, in writing this post, I’ve circled around the idea of attitude, what affects it and mostly noticing that it can change often, even within a day’s time. What strikes me is that maintaining an upbeat attitude takes thought and intention. If you’re not paying attention, your attitude can dribble away and descend into nit-picking irritation. Since we’re all different, and we’re all human, I guess it’s up to us individually just what kind of attitude we want to have, think about how to hold it and maintain one’s equanimity when things get tough again.
I can tell you one thing: it’s a lot more fun to have a positive outlook than a negative one. Believe me, I’ve been there recently and I’m climbing out of the rut I’ve been in lately. Hope everyone around me also understands.