Well, when I came to write this piece, I thought it would be impossible. “How can I write about being grumpy, when I’m so clearly not”, I said to the wife. She gave me a look, as only a wife can. The raised eyebrow suggested that I might be wrong, she then burst out laughing.
I was of course being slightly tongue-in-cheek. I know he exists. Part of me is quite happy he’s there, I’m sure it’s perfectly possible to be cantankerous and happy with it. My Father seems to have mastered it for years!
However, my thinking is that if the grumpy mind-set is allowed to take hold, it can become quite destructive. I do recognise of course that there can be medical reasons for mood swings and I’m no Doctor. Some of the things I’ve read do sound eminently sensible. Just yesterday I read a piece that suggested that a prolonged period of stress can result in a large fall in testosterone. This produces associated mood changes, with melancholy and grumpiness to follow a natural side effect.
Leaving aside clinical conditions, I have to take positive action to stay happy and to take on the grumpy old bugger in me.
It might sound like the grumpy old man is simply having a strop, but actually I find being left on my alone to get over it is usually the best course of action. I am more of a strop person than a sulky type, so I do naturally find my own way back. I think it would probably work for some people but not others. If I’m irritated, the last thing I need is being asked what’s wrong! Some space, some fresh air, some time alone and things are good again.
I hesitate because I don’t want to sound preachy, and no, I don’t mean going on a diet, I mean eating properly. Even a few days of cutting out the rubbish, less sugar, less simple carbohydrates, more salad, more fruit and I find my mood does tend to lift. On the other hand a takeaway and too many beers, no matter how good it feels at the time can leave me feeling rotten for days.
Even on the darkest days, and whether I feel like it or not beforehand, the company of friends is definitely a way of tempering the grumpy old man within me. I need to invest time in keeping my friends, everyone has such busy lives. Sometimes it does feel that there just doesn’t seem to be the time. Only after I’ve socialised do I realise just how lucky I am, and how I need to try harder.
I’d like to think I keep the grumpy old man on a short leash, but I know that some days he rules the roost for a while. That’s okay be me, just as long as he doesn’t get too comfortable there.