Make your own party and be happy about it
It often takes a lifetime to realize nobody is going to make us happy except our own selves. If we wait for people or money or retirement to complete us, we might experience a lot of unhappiness when these things come to pass and we’re just as miserable as we were before. Depending upon somebody or something to fulfill us is a waste of time and energy.
The beauty of aging is that some of us have learned to make our own party. It might be a pity party or a thankful one or something as simple as throwing a tax refund party and buying a new pair of shoes. My brother told me one of our cousins had a saying that went like this: “We are the architects of our own misery.” I’m fairly certain cousin Gene had no idea he was substituting “misery” for “happiness.” In a way he was a happy person but like the rest of us, he also created his own share of misery.
Wanting to be loved and accepted by others is an integral part of being human and the need to be loved is universal, but what happens when the love we give isn’t returned? As adults, we have choices. We can become bitter, angry, hostile, vindictive, or we can accept whatever comes our way and move on. I realize that’s easier said than done. Sometimes it takes longer to heal from an emotional wound than it does to heal from a physical one. But it’s not just losing love from a person we admired that can upset us. It might be something as subtle as changes in the weather that sends us into a tailspin.
I started writing this column on April 4. By mid-morning, 8 inches of snow had fallen, and the plow was nowhere in sight. I had plans to meet a lady friend for lunch at Sacy’s at the Bay Mills Casino. We don’t see each other much during winter, so by the time April’s here we’re ready for a get-together and a long visit. You can just about imagine how I felt when I awoke to all that fresh snow covering the 4 inches from a few days prior. By noon the plow still hadn’t ventured down my sideroad and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere.
Twenty-four hours later another snowfall added an additional 8 inches. The only way I could get through the day was to pretend it was November. For six months I’ve been cloistered in this trailer due to the weather and I’m ready to scream. Usually I don’t pay much attention to what Karl Bohnak says when he gives the weather report. I just look out my window and see what’s going on and plan my day from there. I guess I won’t be doing any planning until July.
After calling my friend and cancelling our luncheon, I made a pot of coffee, toasted some bread and took to my chair. I was disappointed. No, that’s not quite true. I was furious and emitted a few choice words I can’t share with you. As one of my readers, Jan Hines, says “it wouldn’t be lady-like!” But believe me I let the stinking Greek goddess of snow, Khione, know how I felt. She had come all the way from Greece to dump our area with more snow than we had in January.
I know complaining about snow in April is a minor concern when people all over the world are starving to death or being deported from their homes or being chased by tribesmen carrying machetes. I have heat, lights, water and enough beans and rice to last through the decade, so I should be thankful and not grumble about spring snow, but you know what we’re like. We’re genetically programmed to comment on the weather. Any kind of weather is the beginning and end of most Yooper conversations. It governs our lives and every outdoor step we take.
As retirees, we don’t have to drive daily on icy or snow-filled roads because we don’t have meaningful employment. We stay home most of the winter and our outings are limited to the grocery store and the doctor’s office. Perhaps once a month on payday, we might venture to the casino and try our luck at the slots knowing full well we’re not going to win as much as a dime.
That’s why the late snowfall was such a disappointment. It thwarted my plans. The lunch I was looking forward to ended up being a piece of dry toast instead of a delicious buffet with a friend I’ve known since kindergarten. So I threw myself a two-hour Pity Party and relished every minute of it.
As an oldster, I’ve earned the right to complain, get angry and maybe even cuss a little when things go haywire. I’ve kept a stiff upper lip throughout many a trial and tribulation in my life. I’ve kept going, slapping a smile on my face and telling myself everything would be fine. Well, everything’s not fine. I’m old, tired and disgusted.
But by the time you read this, the snow might be gone and daffodils might be dancing in a warm breeze. Then I’ll throw a Welcome Spring Party and you’re invited. Come on down and join me.
Editor’s note: Sharon M. Kennedy of Brimley is a humorist who infuses her musings with a hardy dose of matriarchal common sense. She writes about everyday experiences most of us have encountered at one time or another on our journey through life. Her articles are a combination of present day observations and nostalgic glances of the past. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, Sharon has compiled a collection of stories from her various newspaper columns. The title of her book is “Life in a Tin Can.” Copies are available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle format.