I read recently that in our forties, we’re wise enough to acknowledge our bad habits and negative personality traits, and pliable enough to reform and avoid becoming cranky, nasty, annoying geezers. I’ve been cranky, nasty, and annoying since birth, and I become even more aware of it during the holiday season. I almost tossed rocks through a neighbor’s window to knock down the Santa figurines he displayed on the sill in mid-October. I know I need to change my ways and attitude or I’ll alienate all the people in my life. No one will visit me at the nursing home, and I’m sure some of my former students will be on staff. They’ll disregard the instructions on my prescription bottles as much as they did the directions for the college assignments they never submitted. I’ll die at their hands of an overdose or lethal medication combination.
I’ve also read that it takes three weeks to acquire a new habit. Therefore, I committed to doing one kind, nice thing every day before Christmas Day in 2012. I hoped to become a nicer Nancy in those 23 days and learn to enjoy the holiday season, instead of staying in bed with my quilt over my head and wishing all the cheer would just go away. To keep myself honest, I posted my progress (or not) every day.
I’m looking back at that time as I try to elevate my spirit again this year.
Saturday, December 1. 2012: I attended the five o’clock mass with my husband B. I didn’t think he’d make it to mass because I shocked el pobre with too much at once: I took a shower, I showered because I was going to accompany him to mass, and I would accompany him to mass in hope that I’d run into fellow parishioners I had not seen in a long time. When B thinks of me, clean and social do not come to his mind. After mass, I was genuinely glad to catch up with people I hadn’t seen for weeks (okay, months). B was too light-headed to drive home though after I told the pastor I wanted to help decorate the church tree on December 22 and offered to pick up Wonder Bagels for the occasion.
Sunday, December 2, 2012: I complain plenty about, well, everything. A family member once told me, “Nancy, if you didn’t have anything to complain about, you wouldn’t have anything to write about.” Two things I complain about are the constant posting of notices in my building (e.g., the garage door is out of service for two weeks, there will be an increase in monthly maintenance fees, residents cannot park in the driveway for more than five minutes) and how much *&%$# stuff is accumulated in my and B‘s unit. There were new notices in the elevator this morning, but before I lost my s*** all over the place, I did as my therapist reminds me to do: I took a deep breath and rationally assessed the situation. The notice explained that the bins in the lobby are for donations of various items for the needy and homeless. I complain too much and don’t appreciate enough how overly fortunate I am. I placed coats and unworn winter items in the bins, and put non-perishables on the week’s grocery list to donate.