Be More Mindful Of What’s Brewing

Last article we met my friend, Nellie.

She can be described as a character who resonates calm. She’s married to Tim, and their children are out of their house. Her surprise call led to a lovely little breakfast at my office. She painfully unfolded a family matter that was conflicted and more than she could handle.

A first cousin, Adam and Esther, were visiting. Past years had traditionally brought them from their southern home for a week’s holiday with Nellie and Tim. Nary had a problem ever kept the tradition from losing its mooring.

This year’s plan was different. Both Adam and Esther retired from their respective jobs. They planned a full summer with Nellie and Tim. Prior to their departure from down south, Esther cautioned Nellie about Adam’s moodiness. Nellie didn’t sound too concerned. Nellie described Adam’s mood as grumpy, irritable and mumbling under his breath a lot.

Not long after they arrived did Adam’s moodiness play out. He laid into Esther in response to her accidentally dropping her coffee. Nellie’s attempt to intervene with her characteristic calm was met with Adam’s cold stare. Tim took action, got Adam out of there and connected on a boat ride. Later, Tim shared some unspecified matters with Nellie. Tim persuaded Adam to talk to someone. With his consent, Adam made an appointment through Nellie’s assistance.

I met Adam the next day at noon. I wondered for a moment if Adam’s irritability might be likened to high noon. No use dramatizing what I haven’t seen. Adam arrived at his scheduled appointment.

He wore jeans, sneakers and a button-down shirt. He looked to be almost 5 feet 8 inches or 5 feet 9 inches tall and about 180 pounds. He did look to be out of shape. His hair was short and receding. He wore glasses and sported a goatee. I invited him to sit down, shook his hand and offered him a bottle of water.

I introduced myself and thanked him for coming in on short notice. I asked him about his vacation thus far, “It’s okay, I guess. We’re all boating, eating, drinking and sleeping. Things are different this year.”

How so, I inquired?

“Well, in past years, Esther and I took a week off from work. This year was an entire summer holiday. We’d stay with Tim and Nellie and take independent trips. Also, she and I retired.”

Wow, Adam. Are you jazzed and excited to be retired?

“Yes and no. I’m glad to be away from my job. I miss some of my colleagues.”

Do you plan to maintain contact with anyone?

“Not for now. I’m just wanting to leave that place behind. I worked for 30 years and gave it my all. I was good at my job.”

So what about now, Adam? Have you planned for your retirement?

“Yes. Esther and I did fairly well financially. We don’t have kids. We have a dog that travels with us. We own our home and love the warm weather except in the oppressive summer months. Visiting old friends up north gives us a break. We enjoy their company.”

So, Adam, how do you feel about your friends Nellie and Tim encouraging you to get some counseling, to talk with someone other than them?

“Well, at first I was offended. I got ticked off at Esther. Nellie tried to butt in and that ticked me off more. Tim whisked me away. The boat ride and a beer provided some relief.” Have you ever had counseling before, Adam? “Not really. I’m not depressed or anxious or losing my marbles.”

So, what brought you to come here? Did others force you?

“No, not really; Tim could be awfully persuasive, especially when threatening to throw my overboard! Well, he wasn’t serious. I hope not. I told him I’d give it a chance, one session.”

I understand that you’ve been moody, which is uncharacteristic. Is that true?

“I guess so. darn it, Marshall. Yeah, I’m angry a lot. Guess I kept it hidden for a long time. Esther didn’t even know until recently. I yell at her a lot. Maybe, while I’m up here visiting, I can see you at least one more time, Marshall?”

Sure, Adam. Before we make an appointment, I want to invite you to focus, be more mindful of what’s brewing, maybe percolating. Hey, you let it rip. Before it, perchance, gets too serious; like a hurt to you or others. Think about what has upset you.

We made an appointment for Tuesday.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.