At the ripe age of forty-four, I thought I wouldn’t let petty things get to me quite as much as they did when I was younger. Unfortunately I do let petty things (and sometimes not-so-petty things – see items #2 & #5 below) bug me so much that I turn into Satan.
What kinds of petty/non-petty stuff raises my blood pressure?
1) People who don’t return my emails
2) People who pull dangerous, rude moves while driving our curvy mountain highway
3) Gross spammers (I wish spammers would get a life! They should start doing volunteer work instead of sending me emails about increasing my damn penis size??? And here’s a newsflash to them all: I DON’T HAVE A PENIS!!!)
4) People who won’t pick up their dog’s poop, especially in well-travelled areas
5) People who make clueless remarks about mental illness
6) People who I’ve helped on and off for years, but when I need their help, they become mysteriously unavailable
I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you. Well, maybe.
All this stuff drains me, to say the least. How I wish I could become impervious to at least half of the items on my list, but realistically that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
I could start meditating to help me deal better with life’s indignities; meditation has been suggested to me over and over again by well-meaning professionals. But I’d rather have my teeth cleaned than meditate. (I hate getting my teeth cleaned and hearing that squeaky sucking sound!)
I’ve been told by vibrant, semi-enlightened souls how much a yoga practice will transform my life. I’m happy for their yoga love, but I’d rather scrub my (very dirty) toilet. I’ve tried different forms of yoga, but I simply don’t feel called to it. I’d rather sweat heavily on a run, a hike, or on my elliptical machine. (I *love* to sweat! The more drips the better!) Speaking of sweat, yes, I tried a Bikram “hot yoga” class years ago, and while I liked it more than the other kinds of yoga I tried, it didn’t float my boat.
While yes, I’m venting and whining up a storm, please believe me when I say that I know how damn lucky I am. All I have to do is read an update about my neighbor who’s battling Stage IV cancer. I’m reminded of how good I have it while reading profiles of my fellow nominees for the WEGO Health Activist Award. Most of these incredible folks live with serious chronic illness. Each of their stories helps me appreciate the fact that while yeah, I have bipolar, thank God I don’t have debilitating migraines forcing me to live on my couch, or exist without an entire upper intestine and rectum. (Yes.)
Ever since I was a child, my beloved Granny would often tell me in her New York-inflected accent, “Dyanu, it could always be worse!” (Dyanu was one of her nicknames for me.)
My wise Granny was right. It can always be worse. I was very close to Granny as a teenager and young adult. Lung cancer caused her to die a ghastly death ten years before my diagnosis. While I was devastated that I lost her, I’m glad that Granny didn’t live long enough to see how “worse” it became for me after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Although Granny was a valiant fighter throughout her life, I know that my struggles with mental illness would have torn her apart.
So here I am. My sweat has evaporated both literally (I worked out an hour ago) and figuratively. (I’m not sweating over any of my pet peeves at the moment.)
Tomorrow will inevitably bring its aggravations, but maybe I can sweat just a little bit less over them. Who cares if that mean person doesn’t email me back? I can direct my attention upon more fulfilling things. The rude, dangerous drivers will always pique my road rage, but maybe I can try using an essential oil spray to help me chill out in the car instead of flipping the bird or screaming out a very vile word.
If I make a little progress with a few of my pet peeves, hopefully my feelings of accomplishment can make me a little less reactionary overall.
And maybe I’ll get my first tattoo on a highly visible place (i.e. my hand, or perhaps my forehead, Maori-style) to remind me:
“It could always be worse!”
*You can endorse me for the WEGO Health Activist Award (I was nominated by the bestselling writer Wendy K. Williamson!) until January 31st, 2015 at :
Endorsing me takes just 15 seconds and I’d be very grateful to you!