My 12-year-old mentee is adorable. She is a ball of energy, full of superlatives and positive vocabulary. She would always reply with a flamboyant adjective when I asked her how she is – “groovy! Fabulous! Fantastic!”
In fact, it was because of this boundless enthusiasm that she would get into trouble, because she couldn’t sit still for long enough, too much to do, too much to see, the sun is so bright, she just wanted to go out and play. It’s like she has tiny invisible wings around her ankles, so she skips and hops around the hallways, drumming along lockers and walls, high-fiving, hugging, falling over her friends.
So that is when the sky is blue. But if something goes wrong, or she doesn’t get to do what she really wants to do – look out! The clouds hang low, the brows meet in a droopy arch over her lioness eyes, and she pouts like she is on the cover of a teenage magazine. So one of the things we talked about was what happens when she doesn’t get to do something she had her heart set on doing. And how we can minimize the damage that hours of sulking can have, both on her and those around her. One of the things I suggested was that she give herself some time, say five minutes, and allow herself to sulk for that time. After that, she should tell herself, okay, I had some time to be grumpy, now I need to snap out of it.
I doubt it is going to be a magical solution, but she seemed to think it made sense at least.
So. I’ve been trying to do the whole positive psychology thing and just focus on the good things, whine less and be an optimist, flick off the not-so-bright aspects of life and keep my eyes trained on the wind-in-my-hair-I-am-a-free-spirit-whistling-up-in-a-tree kind of stuff.
But as I sit here on my too-pink bed, with my eyes itchy and my legs hurting, sleep teasing me as it skirts just out of grasp, I think I will give myself some time. I’m going to give myself two minutes to whine and talk about things that are just pissing me off or making me sad enough to curl into bed with Doritos and hummus and bread and cupcakes to watch endless episodes of bad TV shows like Greys’ and Desperate Housewives.
From the bats in my chimney, to the perpetual state of wondering if I will have to take out the trash this time too; from the humid heat to the splotches on my face, my hair falling out like I’m a dying tree in Autumn. From being so far away, not being in Rome or Barcelona; always having to cook for myself, to the cobwebs in the corner and the huge spider that is hiding somewhere around my bed. I give myself two minutes to whine about all this and more, and then. Then I will get back to life.