Yesterday I was ornery. I was, perhaps, unkind. I was fed up and I let my fed-up-ed-ness get the best of me. I am not always a nice person, though I try … I really do try. Here is what happened:
A Facebook friend opined that her life is terrible because she is “in a rut”.
Yes, friends, that is all it took to set me off. Nothing more than that, but it came at the wrong time. It came on a day when I needed help plugging in my vacuum cleaner because I could not see the wall outlet. It came at the end of a week when I grieved with a dear friend over the death of her young granddaughter. It came on a week when another dear friend has learned that her son will not likely live to see Christmas. It came at the wrong time, when I had shared true grief with people whom I love and when my compassion meter was running on fumes. Sorry, but “in a rut” simply does not evoke my empathy.
My response to her was, perhaps, unkind … and that is not my nature. It was not thoughtful, but rather off-the-cuff, and my cuffs were worn and frayed at the time. This is not the ‘ME’ I want to be. However, I offer no apologies, because after the passage of a day, a night’s sleep, and much soul-searching, I realize that I spoke honestly, and one should never apologize for honesty.
“In a rut”. “Bored”. I suppose I should be thankful that I have no context for these words. The last time I was bored, I was ten years old. And the last time I was in a rut was … never. Luck or design? Both, I suppose. But this whole episode led me to think about the concept of being bored and in a rut.
First, I do not see how, with all the books in the world, with the wonders of nature right outside our front door, a person can possibly be bored. But that said, if you are bored and your life is a rut, why not do something different? Whose responsibility is your life? It is not mine … I’ve got enough on my plate. If you are ‘in a rut’, why not change something? Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter or the local Humane Society. Volunteer at the library. Volunteer as a classroom aide at the local elementary school. Take online classes in a topic that interests you. Start writing your memoirs. Go explore a new park or hiking trail. Try a new recipe. Learn to knit. Play Sudoku. Learn a new language. For Pete’s sake, there are so many opportunities out there … there is simply no excuse for being “in a rut”.
We are each responsible for what our lives have become. Throughout our lives we have made choices, have come to forks in the road and had to choose a path. Each choice, each path, leads to consequences … some desirable, some less so … but each of us are responsible for those choices … nobody else … just us.
I rarely dwell on my problems because I have better things to do. When I do whine, I confine it to my soulmate, H, rather than inflict my mood on the general public. I do not make it a habit to publicly bemoan my problems, nor do I often allow myself to dwell on them, for that simply causes them to loom larger-than-life. Life is short … I want to enjoy my days, not spend them feeling sorry for myself and engaging in self-pity.
So no, I am not proud of the manner in which I responded to my friend, but neither am I repentant. I am mostly saddened by the fact that she, and others I know, have chosen to waste their lives focusing on what they perceive they are missing, rather than trying to broaden their horizons, do things that have value such as helping others, furthering their knowledge, and focusing on the good in their lives. It is a sad statement of the human condition. It is a damn shame.
I am not a psychologist, but I do know that we each hold the keys to our own lives and our happiness. Nobody else can give us either of these … we must make our own choices. There is an old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. It is trite, but really, if you think about it, it’s true. We can either whine and feel sorry for ourselves for what is making us unhappy, or we can change it. If we cannot change it, then we can learn to live with it and move on. Social media is chock full of people engaging in pity parties, pathetically asking the world to give them sympathy, empty commiseration, rather than turning their lives into whatever it is they want. Sorry, folks … that ain’t the way it works.
However, I will try to be nicer in the future, or, as H advised me, just scroll on by. 🙂