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Be of good cheer...dammit

I am not by nature a cheerful person. I am Irish. We have little to be cheerful about, save Guinness. Deep sorrow and a general distrust of humanity dwells deep in my DNA.

I have five children, ranging in age from 15 - 20, so someone is always mad at me.

My dog just died.

I am Catholic, and while this brings great joy, it also brings great guilt. I feel guilty about everything. Really. I'm pretty sure there was something I could have done to help that poor blind Chinese guy escape to the US sooner. I know that I should have worked harder to master Lego building for my youngest son's sake. And I can't bake very well. Guilty as charged.

Yet, I am working damn hard to be of good cheer. Why? Because (and yes, the irony of this does not escape me), grumpy people tick me off. There is one woman that I frequently ride the bus with in the mornings, and she never misses an opportunity to complain about the driver, the busing system, traffic. Really? You're on the bus for all of ten minutes, and it's a FREE shuttle. Why are you so upset?

Then there's that guy in the pick up truck who inevitably roars past me on the rural road on which I live, flipping me off because I'm only driving 65 miles per hour. Grouch.

But here's the thing. I don't want to be petulant, sulky or complaining. I want to enjoy life. I want to have fun. It just takes so much work! It does not come naturally to me. If I am not careful, I will be the complaining woman on the bus, the person flipping you off in traffic, the woman snarling in the checkout line, the bitter mom belittling her kids constantly, the wife who does nothing but publicly complain about her spouse.

And I don't want to be that person. I am never going to be the carefree spirit who is able to pick up and go on a moment's notice. I'm not going to trip the light fantastic, look on the bright side, let go and let loose, be devil-may-care, see the silver lining or keep my chin up.

But I am gonna be cheerful. Even if it kills me.


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