Posts Tagged With: pessimism

Throwing Down the Gauntlet of “I’m Not”

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I can’t find that picture I took of her riding around when she first got this contraption. So this will have to do.

My favorite three-year old brought her scooter over during her last visit. So of course, we headed outside for a nice walk through the neighborhood. I pushed her sister in the stroller while she zoomed ahead on her scooter. Every once in a while she’d stop, sit down on the scooter and wait for me to catch up to her. As I got closer she’d pop up, put her speedy foot to the ground and rocket away on the sidewalk. Luckily she’d been taught to stop at corners so I don’t have to yell or run ahead.

If I had on skates or was on my own scooter, I’d still have a tough time keeping up with her. I think she’d go a couple of miles before she felt even a little tired. Oh, to have such energy!

When we decide to head down the grassy hill to the playground, she attempts to ride the scooter through the grass, but meets too much resistance in the thick green lawn. So she steps off and drags the scooter behind her.

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We’re talking thick over-watered winter grass of Phoenix.

Yup! She drags it sideways, with the center of the wheels catching on the long grass and the body of the scooter adding more drag. If I didn’t need to manage the one-year old and the stroller I’d show her how simply pushing it in an upright position, rolling along on the tires requires less effort and more efficiency. I suggested it, with verbal directions. Her reply? “I’m not.”

That’s how she answers most things she’s not interested in doing, eating, working at, giving in on or sharing. “I’m not.”

Just two words and she’s said all she’ll say on the matter.

There’s no reasoning, bribing, cajoling, begging, threatening or consequence that changes her mind once she’s decided “I’m not.” (Her parents have better luck with this, but I’m not the parent. I’m the pushover.)

So when we leave the park with me awkwardly pushing a fully loaded stroller up the grassy hill, she once again, drags the scooter sideways until we reach the sidewalk. I offered to carry the scooter on the stroller and she replied in her two-word manner. “I’m not.”

Independent little thing! Ya gotta admire that!

I wonder sometimes if I’m like her with lifes… stuff. 

I buzz along at a nice clip, enjoying the ride and then I encounter resistance. (I think I deal with the long thick grass or rocky terrain much more often than the smooth sidewalk, but that’s probably a skewed and incorrect viewpoint.)

I could patiently step off and simply push in a slightly different way, with my wheels still rolling forward. But, more than likely, I throw my “scooter” on its side and drag it along, making things harder than necessary.

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Feeling drenched by my bad attitude.

Maybe I’m a bit dramatic about a situation and blow it out of proportion. Or maybe I assume the worst possible outcome. Perhaps I fail to deploy my optimism umbrella and instead get drenched by pessimism.

When life gets hard and stays that way for too long, what do I do? I throw down my own well-worn gauntlet of “I’m not.”

More than likely I’ve forgotten to notice the happy stuff going on around me and I only notice the one or two big negatives. I even get argumentative with people I like, or complain out loud about “how hard my life is.” What a downer. Then I feel worse because I’ve hurt people, relationships and myself.

Funny how a three-year old can teach a lesson without even trying.

I think I need two photographs of Miss Smarty-pants and her scooter; one of her zipping along and one of her dragging the thing behind her. I could use the reminder that I have a choice in how I ride and how I manage the roughs.

It’s time to set my scooter upright and push it through the grass.

I’m sure that before I know it I’ll feel the wind whipping through my hair as I push-off once again on one of life’s smoother paths.

 

 

 

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Categories: Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teeter-Totter, Bread and Water

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am thankful for the concept of gratitude. I know that sounds like a circular thought, but it’s not, at least in my case.

Seesaw with a crowd of children playing

Seesaw also known as a teeter totter

Consciously looking for the good things in my life brings a bit of balance into my mental equations.  I lean toward the depressed and pessimistic side of life. I tend to hover on the precipice of what bad thing is going to happen next. I’m scouting around for whatever it is, worrying, fretting, anxious. It’s as if by anticipating the difficulty I might be able to keep it away, or gird myself for its onslaught.

Then I stumbled on the idea of something quite the opposite to my natural inclinations. The idea of gratitude found a foothold in my negatively charged brain. Now gratitude is my fence, my force-field against depression, my castle wall of fortification against an abyss of sadness that seems to always be pressing in. Gratitude bring balance to my varyingly unbalanced mental life.

More effective than medications, gratitude has kept me, for the most part, balanced and reasonable. I may not be outright optimistic, but I’m at least not wallowing in self-pity and overwhelmed by life’s constant barrage.

English: Vegetable market in Heraklion, Crete....

So I look for the good stuff. I’m thankful for the simple things. I embrace the happy parts of my day. As a result, my mental health stays healthy-ish.

Yeah, the tough stuff is there, hovering everywhere, clamouring for attention, screaming for acknowledgement, crying out for my time and efforts. It occupies plenty of my time and energy. Like junk food for the soul, it’s very tempting to give in and indulge in sorrow, self-loathing, criticism and cynicism.

Gratitude serves as mental fruit and vegies, healthy food for my starving psyche. Gratitude quietly saves me from myself and helps me feel whole and well.

For that I am very grateful.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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