I find it odd when I wake up with an established mood. Shouldn’t I wake up neutral? Some people wake up moody because they’ve been disturbed by their dreams; they’re sad or upset or angry based on the real but not real nocturnal adventures they’ve been through.
I don’t remember my dreams so I expect morning equanimity. A mood that’s neither up nor down, just a holding pattern leftover from the day before, waiting for the day’s input to carry on.
Mostly, that’s what happens. Sometimes, however, I wake up angry.
I’m angry before my feet touch the floor. I am a burning fuse, a simmering volcano, hot and waiting for any excuse to explode. This morning, the coffee scoop was not where it was supposed to be.
That’s all it takes when I wake up lit. The scoop’s absence from its established resting spot made me see red. All I wanted to do was slam doors until everyone woke up and the problem caused by other people’s inability to conform to my obsessive requirements was addressed. How dare they sleep while I was struggling with so serious an issue?
I took a deep breath through gritted teeth before fishing around in the cupboard. I found the erstwhile scoop, made the coffee, and reset my mood to DEFCON three.
There’s a possibility it wasn’t really about the scoop.
I woke up mad but I’m the one who let things progress and expand. My choice. I’m trying to learn to focus on the things that are in my control but doing that comprehensively is difficult. It doesn’t work at all if part of me still expects other people to conform to my needs. And, part of me does.
Part of me expects the world, or at least my little portion of it, to cater to my anxieties and live by my rules. Do things the way I want, do things the way I do. Then, nothing is discordant, nothing is agitating, and nothing is out of place, setting me off.
It’s a nice fantasy but it can never be anything else. The world is not going to act the way I want it to and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about that.
The people I live with are not carbon copies of me for all that I raised them. They don’t think as I do. They aren’t compulsive in the same ways. They don’t worship at the altar of organization.
This then is a “me” thing.
I say that to myself as I follow around behind them, repeatedly putting the house back to the rights I require. Other people are not in my control. I say it but deep down inside, part of me still expects them to adapt to me and my needs.
In my secret heart, I’m still hoping for wide-scale accommodation.
That’s not a thing that’s going to happen, however.
I don’t have the ability to make other people think or do anything. Not even something small like a coffee scoop. I have (some) control over my own thoughts and actions and that’s it.
Unfortunately, that puts the “what to do” when I wake up in a mood – and I’m still not entirely sure how that happens – squarely back in my camp.
Time to dredge up an old behaviour I abandoned from when my kids were young. If we were having a difficult morning, if breakfast wasn’t going well, if it was arguing and sulks and general discontent, I’d suggest a do-over. Everyone back to bed, take five minutes and start the day again.
And while I’m there, perhaps I’ll think more about letting go of the things that are not in your control. It doesn’t mean have secret expectations. It doesn’t mean trying to fix the world so it suits you and being at ease is easy. It means letting go of the illusion that anything outside of your own thoughts and actions is up to you.
Do you expect people to change for you?