I have found that opportunities to really ponder life, relationships, people (or just being!) are abundant when you work with the elderly. I'm so grateful that I am aware of these opportunities so much more than I used to be. I don't know if working with seniors has made me more sensitive to this, or maybe it is maturity? I don't ever remember thinking "I wonder why she feels that way" while someone was totally chewing me up and spitting me out into little bits when I was in my 20s. I was more like "Shut up, you're an ugly butt-munch. You're mom had to tie a pork chop around your neck so the dog would play with you." Anyway, I like that I can view things with a little different perspective than I used to.
So when one person loudly gripes that "this soup is too hot to eat" and the person at the very next table eating the very same soup served at the very same time complains about the soup being too cold, the first thing to fall out of my mouth isn't an insult (if you'd wear your teeth to dinner you could order something besides soup) or defensiveness (Do you think I made the stupid soup? Do you have any idea how hard it is to please fifty different people!?) While those things *usually* don't make it past my lips, I do have to admit that sometimes I still think them. I have so many growth opportunities!!
Leaving the insults behind, what I try to do instead is think about what the real problem might be. Because it really never is about the damn soup. It's about having to give up a driver's license after 70 years of driving. It's about arthritis that hurts so much it is impossible to button a shirt. It is being too proud to ask for help buttoning a shirt. It's about having just lost your spouse of over sixty years. It's about facing your own mortality. It's about dealing with end-of-life issues.
I think it would be a lot easier to bitch about the soup, too.
6 months ago