Cranky, crabby, grumpy, grouch. I woke up a porcupine this morning, and I can’t shake off the quills. I was fine when I went to bed, so what happened between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. that caused this transformation? Did I have a bad dream? I have a vague wisp of leftover dream—or maybe just the realization that I had one—but can’t remember a single thing about it. No doubt I had many dreams, but they have drifted off like dandelion fluff. That can’t be it.
What did it? Was it the discouraging political news I read on my phone before I got out of bed, the threats of war, starvation, inflation, or the stock market? Maybe it happened when I got up and looked in the mirror and saw the scabs on my face from having sixty-one-year-old thingies burned off, or when I stepped on the scale and saw the numbers going in the wrong direction. Getting older sometimes smacks me in the face. It might have been when I discovered my husband had put the Kleenex boxes on top of the cupboard in the garage where his six-foot-one frame can reach them, but I can’t. Didn’t I ask for things not to be stored so high? Apparently I’m too lazy to get out the step stool to get them down.
But no, that’s not it. That’s all small potatoes. Most of that stuff doesn’t really matter. I know from experience that when I’m grouchy, it’s because I have an unmet need. So what is it that my spirit is yearning for that I can’t see? Maybe I’m lonely. Losing three loved ones while shut in with a pandemic has caused me to fold into myself, but losing my closest friend was the kick to the knees that really toppled me. I’m hobbling around on decaying crutches—an extra glass of wine here, a sugary dessert there—and it’s not working for me.
What I really need is to scrape the nasty film off my eyes and see beauty again. Really see it. Instead of focusing on how out of breath I am as I try to power up the ridge on my daily walk, I’m going to stop to admire the wildflowers emerging along the trail dressed in sunshine yellow and bright fuchsia. When I get to the top I’ll stop, turn around, and take in the view—it’s so pretty to see Mt. Diablo in her best greenery. Who cares how many screaming babies on the to-do list are demanding attention? They can wait.
While I’m writing I’ll notice the loveliness of words like gossamer, shimmer, luscious, apology. And shenanigans—especially shenanigans. When I take my upcoming trip, I’m going to find the most amazing library to visit and drink in all the books. It doesn’t matter if they’re all in Spanish. If the dog barks his deafening roar that startles me out of my chair, I’ll remember the scared, silent pup he was the first few months after we brought him home. I might even see the thoughtfulness of my husband storing things out of the way, where they can’t be a nuisance, or the beauty of wisdom in these sixty-one-year-old eyes.
Do you ever wake up grouchy?