My, but we’ve become a grouchy lot, haven’t we? Maybe it’s climate change, or the economy; who knows? It could be the alignment of the stars for all I know, but we’ve got our cranky pants hitched on and we’re wearing ‘em a little too snug around our sensitive parts.
Okay, maybe YOU are not cranky, but many of us are, and if you won’t own it, I will.
I’m at the supermarket loading up on low-calorie, high-fiber, sugar-free, non-fat, no-taste foods that I force down my gullet in order to keep my weight in check. I really want chocolate, french fries, and chips; but that’s not happening, so I’m feeling deprived. Adding insult to injury, I don’t have time for this errand, but since my refrigerator resembles an arctic cave, I’m cooling my jets in the check out line. The lady in front of me waits until after the clerk has totaled all her groceries before she takes out her checkbook, enough of a trigger to kick my internal curmudgeon into overdrive, “Hey lady!” the voice in my head screeches. “You didn’t realize you were going to have to pay for this before hand? Couldn’t you have check ready when you got in line … besides you’ve never heard of debit cards?!!” Since I won’t comment out loud (I’m too “polite”), I roll my eyes, exhale with exasperation (making sure she hears it), shift my feet restlessly, cross my arms, and set my attitude to low burn.
Or have you ever had your cell phone drop a call? Jeeze! That irks me! It wasn’t even a particularly important call, and to be honest, I didn’t want to talk to him anyway, accidentally selecting ACCEPT instead of DECLINE because the layout of the phone is so stupid. Nonetheless, I’m now heavily vested in commiserated about how his 62-inch 3-D TV’s glasses suck. Really? That’s your grievance? There are people who would love simply to witness a sunrise, and you’re grouchy because your nifty cool absolutely amazing invention doesn’t come with rechargeable batteries? I mean, come on! Yet, I’m empathizing — at least until his call explodes in a burst of static and I detonate a blast of curse words at my phone, cellular carrier, and even the government for allowing such inferior systems to get to market.
Time for a chill pill; on the grand scale of life, most of what rankles us is not even a blip on the radar screen of “real” problems; it’s microscopic. Half the time, we don’t even remember it long enough for it to survive the ride home, let alone why we got so upset in the first place; yet we’re singing “ain’t it awful” with the volume on full.
I’ve got a phone in my pocket that connects me to anyone on the planet, lets me watch family movies, listen to music, and take photographs. It’s got more power than the entire computer system on the Apollo space crafts; and I have the gall to launch a hissy fit because I have to push REDIAL? Or I complain about having to drop a few pounds — while half the planet would beg for what I throw away? Spoiled, you’re table’s waiting.
We don’t live in a golly-gosh-gee-willikers fog of happy thoughts and pink ponies; I’m not saying that either. Sometimes, life is tough, sure. But equally true is that most of our “problems” are better than what most of the people on most of the planet face most of the time.
For that I need to be mostly grateful.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and the CDO of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, a website for people and organizations who are frustrated with making promises and are ready to make a change. Sign up for his free newsletter at the site or friend him at facebook.com/thistimeimeanit. He is also available for coaching and speaking engagements at 707.442.6243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.