When I was little and my grandfather was grumpy, I would be told "He got out of the wrong side of the bed". But I didn't understand - why didn't he just make a different choice and get out the other side??
As a kid, I just loved my grandfather. He drove me around, taught me how to do crosswords and had an answer for nearly every question I asked. Except when he was grumpy. My grandmother would explain those days by saying “He got out of the wrong side of the bed”.
I didn’t get that. Surely such a clever man could see that he should just get on of the other side from now on! Why did he waste time being grumpy when he just needed to switch bed sides??
That was one of the questions my grandfather didn’t have an answer for. And I think lots of us often get stuck on the same thing.
It’s a long time since I was that little girl asking that simple question. But I still think it holds some truth. I eventually worked out that our exit point from bed doesn’t have a built in mood decider. I also learned that we get to choose our responses. Left or right side of the bed, grumpy or happy, it’s all up to me.
My grumpiness comes from how I interpret events. I’m the one with all the power, not the event. I can choose to be grumpy about our holiday flight being delayed, or decide it gives me more time to enjoy my coffee. I can get frustrated that my partner spends a lot of the weekend fishing, or I can use the time to learn salsa dancing. Or go fishing too. Or find a new partner…
Even though it seems to happen so quickly, we really do always get to choose our reactions. And whichever one we choose will determine what happens next.
Every time my grandfather got grumpy I gave him some space. We didn’t do crosswords or go for a drive on those days. He choice of bed-side reduced the amount of time we spent together.
I guess that was all a bit much for my grandmother to explain to me when I was little. I’m glad I’ve learned it since then though. Along with my grandfather, the power to choose my own mood is one of the greatest gifts I have.