I'm a grumpy old bastard. I'll admit it. It seems, though, that I have been getting progressively grumpier over the last ten years or so. The other morning as I was getting ready for work, I made eye contact with myself in the mirror and came to a realization. I was not always the angry, cynical, pessimistic shit that I am now. In my younger days, I was a much happier guy. I've always struggled with depression, but that's a separate issue. My general outlook on life was brighter. My view of the world was much more positive. I was, in general, content. I miss being that guy.
I spent the rest of that morning reflecting on what could have possibly been the cause of my shift. Could there be a single root cause? Sure, since I got married 24 years ago, I don't hang out in pool halls anymore. Thanks to the stalemate in my fight to the death with my pancreas, I don't/can't drink. I gave up smoking when my kiddos came along. But, all of those things weren't what made me happy. They've all been replaced with things that give me just as much contentment and joy as any of them did.
Once upon a time, I harbored dreams of amassing wealth and maybe some modicum of fame. Neither of those came to pass, but hell, a lot of people have that dream. I found that I can, and do, make a difference with people every day in almost every job I've had, and I'm good with that.
None of those things rang out as the reason for me to be so damned angry so often, but as I continued my backward journey one thing finally jumped out as decidedly different between then and now...political awareness. As I have become more and more politically aware and more and more involved and invested in the process, I have also become more and more agitated and quick to anger.
Add to that the last, oh, 12 years or so of people screaming at each other and the whole damned thing becoming less and less productive and more and more about thwarting any and everything the other side is trying to do. The rise of "social" media is just keeping it all in your face 24/7.
The big question is "What do I do about it?"
I'm still working on that.
In the meantime, I'm also working on just keeping my big mouth shut and walking away when I feel anger rise. It's not fair to lay it out on people who didn't cause it and don't deserve it.
Hopefully peace and contentment are somewhere ahead of me. I know my family would be glad to see it.