It's been months since I've woken up smiling and eager to start the day.
Wait, let me start over, I don't want to begin this confessional with a lie.
Dear reader: Bless me for I have been crabby. It has been years since an alarm clock found me with a smile on my face.
A frown and a muttering dialogue of how morning comes too early and nights end much too fast has been my go-to a.m. behavior. Can I be nice before 9 a.m.? Was I ever nice before 9 a.m.? I go to bed so I get 7 hours of sleep, I bought the softest microfleece-lined coverlet Pier One offered, and my pillow is like sinking into a flotation tank - I don't know where my mane ends and the dense foam begins.
Yet I still trundle out of bed like a bear jarred awake too early from hibernation. Being cranky is nothing new to me. I've been cranky long enough to give up trying to be nice in the morning. The whistle while you work attitude is never going to happen in my lifetime, not anytime before the sun rises anyway. And I am up to my Eustachian tubes with recommended Vitamin D and soy supplements, I am bone-weary with advice to make time for the 5:30 a.m. cardio/pump/your mama wears combat boots work out, and I say no more to kale powered breakfast smoothies.
I am what I am, so instead, I have re-worked my environment to accommodate Life While Being Crabby. But I think of you, my sweet friends, some of whom may be caught off guard by what the addition of years in your life have brought you to, this state of being too mean to live lately.
You can count on me and my following crab-busting house-hacks:
Buy a oil-drum sized barrel of window cleaner and drown your windows in it. Sunshine sparkling through is just the beginning of the push I need to maybe consider turning this frown upside down.
Vote yes to year-round velvet bathrobes. Linger in it a bit longer, who says lunch has to be done in panted attire? Feel the liquid smoothness of velvet on that hard working a** of yours. Who wouldn't smile...
Configure a daybed in every room. Nothing fancy or Ikea made - some oversized pillows, a pile of blankets tossed about, even occupying your dog's bed when he saunters away from your scowl. Grab it, make it yours, I mean, I feel a smile on my face whenever I'm horizontal.
Colorful art. Color. Not just a touch of it but a visual assault of it. I have two canvas prints of red poppies placed three feet away from where I work. I see them, I know I have them there for me, and what? Is that a grin breaking out? It's trying hard, and yes, it is.
Flowers. Real ones. No silk synthetic Michael's specials. Do you really want to spend any minute of your life dusting fake flowers? I can't think of anything that would make me crankier. So, get some $5 daffodil bundles next time you're picking up the roasted chicken special because one shouldn't cook when they're grumbling - too risky for that negative energy to sneak into your family's dinner.
Say OK to creating your own corner. I would see this written around in magazines and think it was stupid. But it works. I have a chair, it's to the west side of the front windows, and it's there that I sit with this tiny coffee table I found for $45. No one else likes to sit there, and it's my corner and when I'm there, it gives me quiet and peace. The quiet makes my top lip curl up, the peace makes my bottom lip follow.
I make my bed. I do. Cranky is an easy excuse not to but if you let cranky make your decisions for you then every time you pass your unmade bed it'll remind you of what a crab you are and then you'll get even more surly, so, make the bed. A smile will creep in because at least you did one thing today.
And my favorite cranky conquering cure: the daydream.
Daydream about it all. Sit at the kitchen table, with your chin in your hands and daydream. Close your eyes, imagine what you'd do with 50 million bucks, design the house of your dreams, think about a Jamaican vacation so hard you begin to hear the ocean and what if you could buy your neighbor's convertible Alfa Romeo. Gimme a D, gimme an A, gimme a Y. You know the rest, so turn your face up and toward the dream life that makes you smile.
And to all my crabby friends, you're not alone. I have absolved you of your sins done while cranky. Go forth and continue in peace, free to grumble guilt free. We all know the Smiley Sunflowers have petered out by 3:30 p.m. and that's just when our sunshine will be starting to break through.
We strike the perfect balance for when our kids come busting through the door, snarling like bear cubs after a too long day at school.
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