Hissy Fit - October 2020 - Find Your Groove: In What Used to Make You Happy

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


October 2020 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

The overwhelming anger and divisiveness of America has me feeling down. Usually this column is about what’s irritating me to the point of throwing a hissy fit, and I know there are many irritable pesky protocols and rude behavior out there I could write about. However, this month the bad is weighing on me so heavily, all I want to write about are things that used to make me happy.
Lately I have longed, ached even, for a rewind button. I terribly miss wholesomeness, being a part of a group, time spent around the table with family, being needed and helping others.
Maybe it’s because I am once again an empty nester, and I haven’t found my just-me-and-the-dog groove yet. Sure, we go to the beach, have our walks and he goes to the office with me, but he never asks me how my day was, nor does he laugh.

Laughing, which is my favorite thing to do, is missing in today’s world. I can’t tell you when the last time someone wanted to tell me a joke. I grew up with a funny dad. He was always telling hilarious jokes with friends, who would belly laugh until they had tears rolling down their cheeks. He also played pranks on us, especially at the lake house. He or one of his friends would tell us ghost stories, and then later in the night, someone would come running from behind the house dressed as a ghost, scaring us all to death, which would turn into laughter once the fear had cleared. It was just fun, light, wholesome, innocent, and I had no idea how important, until now, when laughter has all but ceased.
So many people are angry—cued up to fight at any moment. The other day I was pulling out of my office parking lot when a tourist father and son were riding bikes. I had to stop quickly because we got to the same place at the same time without seeing each other. Somehow, I quickly became the villain, and the father flipped me off, angrily raised his arms and shouted obscenities at me—all in front of his young son. What a vacation they must have had. Wonder what he’s like at home in the daily grind—surely not a barrel of laughs.

How are children supposed to process bad behavior such as this being exhibited by their parents? Do we not learn how to behave from the examples and lessons our parents teach us? And when did the “F” word become acceptable to say in front of children? Isn’t that a guarantee they will say it, too?
I don’t like the incredibly popular “F” word, which I am guilty of saying on occasion, too. It’s a nasty, angry word. I am going to make it a goal to cull it out of my language. I’m tired of anger, and I want to be part of the solution. What is almost comical now is my mother thought (and may still think) the worst curse word when she was growing up was fool.

The passing years change everything. There are no more role models on television like Andy Griffith, Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver, Clair and Heathcliff Huxtable or Pa and Ma Ingalls. In a time filled with more communication, air time, and channels than ever, none of it is filled with wholesomeness—plain family life where children aren’t controlling the parents, moms aren’t putting down dads, no one is cheating or manipulating, and no one is looking for trouble.

Speaking of looking for trouble, social media has been a slippery slope in the making with people getting verbally assaulted what seems like every 1.3 seconds. Remember when your mother, father, grandmother, teacher taught you, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all?” It is time to reinstate that rule! I saw a thread on Facebook that was so mean it literally scared me. It was like a pack of aggressive dogs jumping on the weak dog, with everybody trying to get in the fight even if they knew little or nothing about it. It may be the nail in the coffin for my end of social media. It was terrifying!

Honestly, if we just revisited the basics, life would become
better, kinder, less angry and more meaningful:

The Basics:

Here are a few of the basics that have stuck with me all my life and probably yours, too:
The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you
would have them do unto you.
How would you feel if you put yourself in his/her place?
Don’t be ugly!
I don’t care who started it, I said STOP.
Enough is enough.
What if everyone jumped off a cliff?
Would you do it, too?
Watch your language.
Say you’re sorry…and MEAN it!
Don’t use that tone with me.
Be good.

If we all followed just these 10 bits of wisdom America would be a far better place.
Life is good, and there are millions of kindhearted people out there who never make the news or overtake the internet.
I bet you are one of them. On both the brightest and darkest days, let’s remember: Don’t let the world change you.
Be the one who changes the world…even if it’s just your world.