Last week I somehow managed to make it to a morning barre class despite having yet another sleepless night with my sick toddler. A very nice, very put together lady sitting next to me flashed a million dollar smile and let out a cheerful “good morning.” To my horror, I kind of just gave her a glazed over glance and didn’t respond. At all. No smile back. No “oh thanks you too.” That’s when I wondered am I the mean girl now?
I swear up and down that I was so much nicer before I had kids. I woke up refreshed, energized and probably smiled at strangers. I made plans and kept them and looked forward to cramming my schedule with nights out and dates. Rest assured that I am not suddenly now intentionally being an anti-social witch. Referring to myself as mean now probably isn’t even the right word. I am more checked out of reality.
Back to my barre class example. It wasn’t like I hoped that lady didn’t have a good morning or was annoyed she was choosing to exchange pleasantries. I was so tired from not sleeping for years straight its almost like conversations don’t register anymore. I was in such a drowsy fog by the time I realized she was striking up a conversation the class started and I felt like a jerk. I tend to zone out when people are talking to me, especially my poor husband. Nodding along and multi-tasking is not the way to work on communication skills I know.
This is happening with a frequency I hate to even calculate. My patience for small talk is almost zero when I typically liked to hear about other people and get to know them. The bank teller asking me how my day is going makes me panic that I won’t be able to get to my next appointment lest I spent a precious few more minutes really telling them. The grocery clerk asking my opinion on sea salt dark chocolate caramels (who really needs my opinion though seriously the answer is YES) makes it that much longer until I can get home and hold my little guy again.
Traffic makes me rage, people asking questions in meetings that have already been answered, people using the self-scan when you have an entire cart full of groceries and there is a huge line behind them. I can come up with a million examples of how my patience is tested daily. Sadly my mean usually peeks out.
For my new years resolution I choose to be more present, more mindful, more here, more pleasant. Taking the time to say hi to someone, making that small talk or really listening to what my husband is saying. I know I am tired and stressed and have a million things going on in my head but maybe this will help me feel less stressed? Maybe avoiding this human interaction to “help” my stress has really been making it worse? I am not a mean girl, maybe its time I start acting like it? No matter how tired I am. Lets meet up at Starbucks and work on this together ok?