At Your Worst, Don’t Be the Worst

20 02 2011

Everyone has a bad day. Sometimes those bad days add up and run together. I’ve had them. I’ve been there. But does it get the best of you? Do you exude misery? Do you exacerbate the problem? Do you become the problem?

The other day at Target, I was at the check out and just waiting and watching people. I sensed someone before she got near me. It was very strange. It was almost a feeling of repulsion that was nudging me full on. I watched as this woman not really wearing a full scowl, but just oozing negativity reached across me to get the divider sticks. I could feel her unhappiness, her aggression and her complete and total lack of awareness. Intrigued and a little unsettled, I watched her out of the corner of my eye. And then as I thanked the cashier, I watched the interaction. She was just ugly. I grabbed my things and left. Then, in the parking lot, I watched her as she held up about 4 cars, including me, by putting her cart nose in to the side of her car after the car next to her pulled out. She left no room for a car who was waiting to get in. She then proceeded to open her trunk, and move things around etc… The woman in the other car gave me the what’s up with her sign with her hands I shrugged and shook my head. She finally gave her a wee tap of the horn to get her to look up and see the stand still she’d caused in every direction. She then threw her hands up in the air and said something angrily as if we were all stupid somehow. That little interaction with a highly negative person bothered me all day.

And then, you have my mom. My mom was back in the hospital last week. She was in ICU. She’s got Alzheimer’s. She couldn’t remember what you just told her a minute ago, but by golly, she was cheerful and chipper. Really? She’s in the hospital, confused, frightened, frustrated, tired and hooked up to tubes and monitors. She had her moments where she fussed at someone for manhandling her, or hurting her, but immediately she apologized for being grumpy. Really? Wow! Nurses were thanked and told they were pretty. They were told they were so good at what they did, they were gentle and smart. The whole ICU loved my mom. They would walk out and say, “She’s so sweet.” Even though she was clearly in a bad spot, she was lovely, gracious and classy.

Clearly my mom is special. Obviously we aren’t all capable of the degree to which she is genuine and cheerful. My point is that we all have a choice and the way we choose to project ourselves affects others directly. Some of it comes to us naturally and some of us are blessed with the “happy gene” as my mom calls it, but most of it comes from the decision to be nice even in the face of adversity. Choose well.


Birthdays are Good Things

27 01 2011

Well, you know what they say, having a birthday is better than the alternative… not having any more.

My mom has always had such a healthy attitude toward birthdays, and most things really. But she never seemed to get flustered by her birthdays. She’d say, “Oh, but 50 is better than the 40s… it just keeps getting better!” and she was delighted to get that AARP card in the mail. When she breezed into her 60s, well, there were all kinds of “neat things.” One day while visiting I had a migraine (inherited from her, I might add) and she said, “Oh honey, I’m so sorry. Hurry up and hit 60 and they’ll go away!” Yeehaw, mom.

Recently she was hospitalized after falling. She hit her head VERY hard and had a bit of bleeding on the brain as well as staples in the back of her head. She suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease too, so it was quite stressful for all of us. While we were talking in the hospital she cheerily announced, “Well, at least I’ve made it to 80! Haven’t I Bill?” We all laughed because most ladies her age would do the math in the opposite direction. My dad grinned and said, “No honey, not yet. You’re a spry 75!” And the cute thing was that she looked a little bit disappointed.

None of us know how many birthdays we’ll get. So, take a little life lesson from the most positive, Pollyanna (in a good way) person I’ve ever known. Celebrate! Be happy where you are in your journey, because I truly believe her. It should just keep getting better! Bring it on 45!

Attacking the Challenge

17 01 2011

I’m so excited about this birthday challenge! 45 will be a piece of cake. Knowing me it will be several pieces of cake… corner pieces. The feedback from people has been great, and so fun to read. It looks like maybe this challenge is not only motivating to me, but to some friends as well. Bonus!

So, I’ve already got a couple of additions to my challenge and it’s only been a day, so I’m thinking this could get out of hand quickly. In addition to the other things on my list, I want to ride at least 45 miles of the Shiner Bash in May AND win 45 tennis matches which could include challenges from friends, tournaments, USTA league and Austin Team Tennis.

I did try something new yesterday. Brenda offered me some “dried Kale snacks. They’re really good… (she promised)… they’re cayenne flavored and naturally gluten free.” So I reached into the bag and pulled out some dried green weeds. I mean, that’s what they looked like. I could have gone out to my yard and pulled some that would have been nearly identical. I gave her a good hard look to see if she was pranking me (HA, I’ll get the ex-wife) and she looked completely serious and quite expectant that I would pop that crunchy dried sprig into my mouth. So, I did. It felt exactly like it looked, pokey, dry and a bit prickly. I couldn’t taste it at first, but I felt a bit of heat from the pepper. I reached in and got a bit bigger piece, and she reached in and grabbed a piece. The second bite was a bit different, a mild flavor but still the same off-putting texture. “Ewww, they’re stale,” she said. “They don’t usually taste like that.” Ha ha, great. I’m sure I’d love them (gulp) if they were fresh dried??? Anyway, thanks Brenda for checking one thing off my list! Just 44 new things to go!

A Birthday What?

16 01 2011

Rooney’s 45th Birthday Challenge

Today is January 16th, 2011. It is exactly 226 days before my 45th birthday. Every 5 years I give myself a birthday challenge… something to make my birthday a wee bit more exciting… a milestone I’m proud of.  Life should be adventurous… at any age!

My goals for the year:

See 45 live bands.

Donate/inspire donations worth $4500 to charity (including corporate match)

Lose 45 pounds

Write 45 notes of appreciation

Do/try 45 new things

Exercise 4.5 hours each week

Try to get bumped to 4.5 by USTA tennis

Play 4.5 level in at least one tournament

Travel (as in fun trip) 4500 miles

Create and write 45 blog entries for my birthday challenge blog

Ride at least 45 miles in the Shiner Bash

Win 45 Tennis Matches

AND… (here’s the really crazy part) in the last 45 hours preceding my 45th birthday I will strive to accomplish all of the following:

Mountain bike 45 miles

Do 450 crunches or pushups combined

Swim 45 laps

Drink 4.5 Texas Margaritas

Lift 4.5 tons of weights