It's often in times of trouble that various aspects of one's identity get a scrubbing down to raw nerves, and after you've encountered yourself at the cut and bloodied level you need to rethink how you're going to put the meat back on those bones laid bare beside the dendrites and synapses.
I'm often described as curmudgeonly by those who know me best because I find it almost reflexive to mouth off whenever any little thing intrudes to soil my day in any way. Recent events make me want to change that about myself.
I was driving out to do some work in my classroom this morning when somebody approaching from the opposite direction at a traffic light made a quick left turn right in front of me. Immediately, I heard myself calling that person a choice word. That's when it hit me that I ought to do some work on trying to put positive spins on things that automatically tick me off.
I considered for a moment right then and there that maybe there was a reason (albeit not a very good one from my own perspective) for why that person thought it necessary to cut through the right of way rather dangerously. Maybe she'd been warned that being late for work one more time would result in drastic action. I argued with myself a little after that, thinking that she should have gotten up earlier and rushed through her morning ritual more expediently. But, I counter-argued, what if one of her kids threw up just as she was about to strap him into his car seat? What if someone had called her about something important that had her running late? What if? What if? I recited a bunch of viable reasons for why she might have been running late or in such a hurry.
I realized that often I'm the term I'd found myself calling that other driver. I vowed to be nicer. To give others some benefit of doubt instead of letting my reactions run on auto-pilot. To savor my own drive, or walk, or conversation, or meal, or whatnot, though it might be made a little different because of the actions of others that don't necessarily suit me.
Because it's just impossible for everybody else to be the terminus of the digestive process all of the time. Sometimes it's me.
For the record, the English teacher in me wants to change that to "Sometimes it's I," but I'm trying to cut others a little slack here.