Keeping a good attitude is like keeping a healthy body: it takes knowledge, discipline, nourishment, and work. That isn’t easy, especially when life throws you a bird.
Today was a bad day. Small people fought. A Pull-up, loaded with a night’s absorbings, was thrown at a mouthy sibling and met its mark. Screaming ensued. Healthful breakfast, made with the children’s immediate and future well being in mind, was refused. On the way to school, the healthful breakfast that was consumed reappeared as vomit all over child and car interior. After arriving home and cleaning child and car, I sat down with a cup of coffee and, at the edge of my vision, saw some kind of critter beeline across the open carpet under my feet. I am still unsure as to its classification- diminutive disease spreading rodent that, while pervasive and cute in children’s books, is utterly abhorrent in my house, or giant stripy house centipede that, while physically harmless, gives me the freaking willies. (I think and hope it was the shiver inducing insect and not the actually dangerous mouse.)
The morning was bad, but not bad enough to be responsible for marring the entire day. The vomit and critters are blessedly rare, but the rest of it is in the range of normal. I spend every day in the company of young children, in a work environment that would have people in paid employment touching up resumes. My youthful co- workers constantly interrupt me, fail to complete routine tasks, and one of them daily exclaims, “I poooped!” I have low expectations and a high tolerance for chaos.
What made it bad was I. After the rough start, I was unable to shake off melancholy and general cheerlessness for the remainder. I wasted the day on a funk.
I owe it to myself and to God to live life purposefully and with goodness in mind. That means making daily choices toward those goals because today is all the life I have to live. It is hard to be positive, kind, purposeful, gracious, and generous when I feel like a poo. Hell, sometimes it’s hard to be polite. But I should try.
Indulging a bad mood does not improve it. It does make me unpleasant company for everyone unfortunate to cross my path. People have to manage their own difficulties and don’t need me adding my own to their load. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t ask for help or bury our pain. But it does mean that we should take care of how much we inflict our moods on our fellows, especially when they are brought on by benign things like vomit.
Today, I failed at conquering it, but I did avoid passing it along to my family. I don’t always succeed, (Hot Swede will call that an understatement.) but I try and try again. I know things will look better tomorrow, assuming one or two of the following occurs: I get some sleep, eat healthfully, the sun shines, no one hurls, or the snow miraculously melts and the crocus emerge. (I won’t hold my breath for that last one.)