I’m done with Winter. I’m ready for the cold, grey days followed by the frigid, dark nights to go away. I don’t want to shovel any more snow or slide across any more icy sidewalks and parking lots. I’m tired of dry skin, frozen nose hair, and chapped lips. As far as I’m concerned, it’s time for Winter to be over. Right this very minute.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve been feeling a little crabby lately. And it’s not just Winter I’m tired of, either. I’m so sick of all those robo-calls that constantly bombard both my cell phone and my land-line that I’m seriously thinking of living a phone-free life. (No matter how hard they try, no one can call you if you don’t actually have a phone.) I’m tired of the way my dog insists on trying to lick his stitches, because it means we have to keep that silly “cone of shame” on him for another few days. That thing hurts when he slams it into my legs, which he does on a regular basis. When you live with a dog wearing a cone, sometimes love hurts.
I’m tired of all the nasty, petty meanness that I see every time I log onto my Facebook account, and really wish that more people would live by that old adage, “If you can’t say (or post) anything nice, then don’t say (or post) anything at all.” I’m even more disgusted with the hatred and violence I see all too often on the news, and wish it would all just stop, immediately.
But the problem is, I can’t make any of it go away. Not even my cell phone, because I really need that little device to stay in touch with my family and friends. And I don’t really want to live my life as a crabby person. So that means I have to figure out another way to cope with it all.
Today I think I took a step in the right direction. I woke up in a particularly foul mood, probably because I went to sleep last night to the sound of sleet hitting the bedroom window. It didn’t help that the morning dawned cold, slushy and very foggy, and I was due down at the animal shelter to walk dogs for several hours. I thought, seriously if briefly, of not going in, but then my sense of responsibility kicked in and I got dressed and drove to the shelter.
And you know what? The longer I walked the dogs, the less crabby I felt. The dogs were just so darned happy to be getting out for a walk that it was kind of hard to keep that nasty mood of mine going. And afterwards, when I came home for lunch, my own dog was so ecstatic to see me that I was willing to overlook a few painful jabs to my shins.
The lesson here isn’t just to spend more time with dogs (although I do recommend it). It’s that when we’re feeling overwhelmed and crabby, sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves isn’t going to help. But what will help is making the effort to do something for someone else (two or four-footed). I honestly don’t know if it’s just the realization that we really can make a difference in the world, or if it’s the happiness that we give others reflecting back on us that lifts our spirits. I only know that it works, and that’s good enough for me.