Stop Wallowing

Once spring semester ended, things were going to be great. I would have evenings off to relax, read, watch Yankees games (with my birthday gift of a subscription to, and spend time with my wonderful wife (when she didn’t have class or clinic hours of course – which is rare). Life was going to be grand.

But like most things in life, it wasn’t what I was expecting. Tough hours at work and an empty house caused me to lust after the middle cushion on the couch and nurse my bad mood. I started coming home from work, grabbing something quick for dinner, and plopping right down on the couch and not budging until Elizabeth got home.
The other night was no different. I came home, ate a quick dinner, and proceeded to play games and surf the net while watching the Yankees game. Before I knew what happened, it was nine o’clock and Elizabeth was on her way home. I hadn’t even gotten up off the couch to turn on a light when it got dark.
I thought that by indulging in my “drug of choice” (as Elizabeth so eloquently put it), I could make myself forget about the day, relax, and get in a good mood for when she returned home. Boy, was I wrong. I was in such a sour mood when she got home, you would think I was a different person. My mood didn’t improve when I saw her, either. I was so engrossed in my own sloth that I was miserable.

The next night, there was no Yankees game. We were leaving for a weekend in New Jersey the next day. The apartment was a mess. Instead of making myself into a vegetable for the night, I decided to do something for my wife for a change instead of selfishly wasting the night again. I put on some quality tunes and got started. I loaded the dishwasher, cleaned the counters, organized my closet, cleaned the bedroom, and scooped the litter. I took care of the plants, took out the garbage, and paid some bills.

Let me tell you, I felt amazing after all that. This isn’t the first time this has happened, but it is definitely the first time I consciously made the connection between my improved mood and my actions and motives. It wasn’t merely my actions that improved my outlook after I got home from work. It was deeper than that. I did it with a mindset of doing something nice for my wife – of serving her. Not for the recognition she would give me for what I did, but just for the sake of serving her and helpingher not be in a bad mood by the apartment being in a mess when she got home. The tunes definitely helped, too (for a quality hymn-like album with rich lyrics and great musicianship, check out the Kingsborough Hyms album).

My advice? If you are in a foul mood after work/school/whenever, and feel like wallowing in your own sourness – take the effort to do something for someone you love. It will make life so much sweeter.



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