Here is something I am good at: Getting Outraged.
I get outraged pretty much all the time. Examples: driving anywhere, I get outraged because of how other people are driving, how other people are or aren’t crossing the street, how other people are riding their bicycles. Especially how other people are riding their bicycles, and usually how other people on bicycles are running red lights. I get outraged when I am out walking my dog in the morning and I see cars with no one in them idling in their driveways. It’s November, people! It’s New England! It’s not even cold yet!
I Get Outraged when people are inconsiderate, and this can take many forms: not holding doors, not saying thank you, standing in the middle of the sidewalk so that it’s hard for other people to get by. I Get Outraged when people use “your” instead of “you’re”, and even more so when people get married and change their name on Facebook to put their maiden name in quotes. You know, as in “I used to be Bird Seahorse, but now I’m Bird “Seahorse” Bird-McTurtleson.” You guys! You only use quotes if that’s what you go by!
Turtle is often telling me to calm down, that it doesn’t matter what other people are doing with their lives (but they are giving me a bad name when they run lights on their bicycles!) or with their names (but do you want me to call you by your maiden name? Because that’s WHAT YOU’RE SAYING by using quotation marks around it!), that it’s not worth expending so much energy Getting Outraged.
And you know what? She’s right: it’s not worth the effort to hang onto the anger or frustration over these things. I’m pretty much already an old lady sitting around and muttering, “What is the world coming to?”
So why let it get to me? Because I hope to keep my passion. I hope to be someone who has strong opinions, and is willing to live by them. I want to be someone who cares about the big things, and I think that I need to hold those feelings up by caring about the little things too. There are lots of things wrong with the world, and I need to identify them so that I can fix them and leave the world a better place. Obviously, I can do that by yelling at individual bicyclists.
Okay, but really? I’m not sure why I am always Getting Outraged. I am not entirely sure what it accomplishes. Is it enough energy to keep me driven? Is it actually helping, in some small way, to improve our neighborhood and then in some smaller way, to improve our world? Does it matter if I get angry at my neighbor’s stupid giant SUV that’s been idling for fifteen minutes if I never even see my neighbor?
I think that part of it is that the anger helps me identify my values, my goals. I want to have a good impact and to live in a way I am proud of, and I don’t want someone like me out their glaring at my idling car, and maybe I have to understand that by being angry at someone else? Does anyone have thoughts on this? Please tell me my outrage is, in some way, productive.
Anyone out there with similar habits?