The other day I overheard my husband talking to a friend about how it’s almost inevitable that men should turn into the stereotypical “grumpy old men” sooner or later. I guess if you live long enough, some of the more memorable interchanges are those where something gets screwed up. A promised service isn’t done on time; a product is poorly made; orders get mixed up. Somehow a “simple” job someone is supposed to perform just doesn’t get done, or at least not done properly. Happens all the time, right?
Maybe when you’re young you don’t tally up all of the disappointments, unmet expectations, or unfulfilled promises aimed your way. Even the big ones can be shaken off, because you know you have a long life of new adventures to face where, hopefully, the results will be better.
Or maybe it’s because when you’re old, time doesn’t slow down—it does just the opposite. So that time the waitress messed up your order last year might have been a long time ago to someone else, but when it happens to you it seems like that other time was only yesterday.
Thankfully, most of the older people I know (including my husband) have developed something else through their years of experience: an appreciation for knowing just how hard it is to get everything right. Perhaps most importantly, somehow they’ve managed to retain their sense of humor as their bodies adjust to new limitations and they have to say goodbye to things they used to enjoy, everything from certain foods to playing sports.
So next time you meet a grumpy old man…maybe something as simple as a smile is the right reaction. Even if it only helps you, it’s worth a try. 🙂
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