Lately I’ve noticed I’m in a REALLY bad mood in the mornings. I used to be the Webster’s definition of Disgusting Morning Person but over the last few days, just the opposite. Call it premenopausal hormones, or an inability to appreciate frigid weather, or pressure from the VFRW contest kicking in, or not being happy at my job. Whatever it is, lately I’ve turned into a grouch.
I realized this morning that part of it is anticipation. I dread the mornings because I expect something bad to happen, whether I know it’s actually going to happen or not. Part of this I’d like to blame on my company (or maybe today’s economic environment in general) because around here, we never know when we’re going to get laid off. I’ve actually been laid off 3 times, and every time they find a reason to keep me on. An old friend from middle school (intermediate school to us Staten Islanders) mentioned he was just laid off via conference call, and he doesn’t know what he’s going to do next; he’s still in shock. I believe the human psyche needs to retain a certain sense of stability and security, to be able to expect that tomorrow will be like today, same as yesterday, with minor degrees of variation. We don’t have that. I’ve seen people with 36 years invested in this company get told one morning, “You have 10 minutes to clean up your desk and get out.” I’m not sure if it was more brutal to be on the receiving end of that statement or to have to watch it, knowing we could be next. (I know what “survivor’s guilt” feels like first hand, and I plan to use it in a book some day.)
Sure, the next thing is, “Find another job; go somewhere else.” Easier said than done. As the saying around here goes, “Just be happy you have a job.”
A few weeks ago I made my first return trip to the dentist after 3 years away. It was just a cleaning and evaluation but I expected pain, and after an hour in the chair, I felt like I’d been through an intense ab workout, I was so stiff. I anticipated pain, and it didn’t happen. Diane the hygienist is great and a lot of fun; we ran over our allotted time because we were chatting about kids and crafts. But because I anticipated pain to happen, I could not relax. It took a day for the muscle aches to fade.
I think that’s why I’ve become such a grouch. I anticipate things—bad things—that aren’t necessarily going to happen. Of course, there’s also the saying, “Perfect paranoia is perfect awareness”, and “Even paranoid schizophrenics have real enemies.” But even when I don’t know for certain that bad things will happen, I expect them, and it puts my mornings in a nosedive. Yesterday I left the office in a much better mood than the one I was in when I got here, and this morning I came in snarling all over again.
Of course, that then opens up the question, is it better to come in chipper and sunny and get blindsided by the days’ events?