#SomethingonSunday, or “Pollyanna Bullshit”

Thanks to Jenny at Reading the End for this new thing to try on Sundays.

For the past month or so, I’ve made a concerted effort to find things every day that I am grateful for. I realized this summer how burnt out I had become by all the outrage and shouting going on everywhere. I was cranky; ate too much junk food; and wasn’t a pleasant mother, wife, or friend. So I decided to stop paying attention to nonsense. After all, if we have a nuclear war, advance notice makes no difference whatsoever, right?!

All joking aside, it was not an easy decision to just turn away. A lot of what’s going on is not nonsense. Plus, I used to be a political junky. I used to love to discuss politics and current events with lots of different people. But not anymore. There is no room at the moment for nuanced opinion, and as someone who needs time to think before forming an opinion, I have little use for all the screaming and screeching that is going on.

I do, however, have great use for my husband, children, and friends. They make a difference in my life, and I can make a difference in theirs. And in order to do that well, I have to be happy. And in order to be happy, I have to focus on what is good. I read this the other day:

“When you’re out, look for people being nice to each other. Having sweet interactions. Look for friends getting coffee or a person holding open a door or strangers saying ‘how you doin’?’ or a dad kissing the top of his daughter’s head.” (It was in the post “Best Reader Comments of All Times” on A Cup of Jo.)

So I’ve started to look for these sweet interactions, and I’m also making an effort to be one of those people who do them. It’s easy enough to curse at a driver who cuts you off, but it’s just as easy—and more satisfying—to thank the driver who stopped to let you turn. It’s easy to hold the door for the next person in the convenience store, and it’s easy to smile at the cashier. And what would you rather do: Check enraging, click-bait headlines on your phone or watch two chipmunks chase each other in a pile of dry leaves? Listen to people who mean nothing to you spout uninformed opinions on TV or take a moment at dinner to tell someone what you are grateful for? I’m opting for the latter in both cases, and I will use my Sunday postings to share one thing a week I am grateful for or something that brightened my day.

Today, I am grateful for the person working at the gas station down the street from us. On Thursday, the kids loudly sang “99 Bottles of Beer” while I was getting gas. I was trying to decide if I should feel odd about my kids singing a drinking song like that—and obviously enjoying it. While I was thinking about what the guy might think of my parenting skills, I suddenly heard him starting to whistle along. We shared a grin when he gave me my receipt. It made my morning.

Happy Sunday! What are you grateful for today?

 

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11 comments

  1. I was going to say I love your title, but really I love everything about this post! Funny timing too – I was just reading an article that stated that even if you can’t think of anything to be grateful for (which would be awful), just the act of *trying* to think of something can make you a happier person. Kinda cool.
    Good luck with this. I hope it works for you. And, yes, just ignore all that yucky stuff on the news… that’s what I do (withing reason) and it really seems to help! Looking forward to these posts. 🙂

  2. Ahahaha, I laughed out loud when I saw that you had put “Pollyanna bullshit” in your post title. You are funny. I love this story — it’s always so nice to experience a random moment of amity with a stranger. And I think your advice about finding ways to choose joy and gratitude over anger is really good; I’m going to try and practice that in the upcoming week.

  3. The local squirrels, deer and fox that we leave food out for always make me happy – and the stars in the sky when I happen to catch sight of them. Even if we destroy our planet at least the universe will still be here – we fortunately haven’t got to the point where we can destroy that yet.

    • Since the deer and rabbits around here consider my flowerbeds “food that I leave out for them,” I can’t get much joy out of watching them (they usually run only far enough into the brush that I can’t follow them, and I just know that they stand there and laugh at me!), but it’s fun to watch the fat little groundhog on the lawn. She’s so busy getting ready for hibernation that she never hears when someone is approaching, but then when she does notice, she runs so quickly into her hole that the entire little body wobbles like jell-o. 🙂

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