New Castle News

May 21, 2012

Lisa Madras: Believe it or not, there are reasons to smile today

Lisa Madras
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — What makes you smile?

Some days, you just wake up with a smile on your face. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, Prince (or Princess) Charming has ventured out of your warm, snuggly nest early to put on some coffee and cook you buttery, heart-shaped pancakes, delivered to your bed with a loving gaze and a single, long-stemmed red rose in a crystal vase.

Please, who am I kidding? The last time I woke up with a smile on my face was around 1990, and that was only because I'd drooled on the pillow and my lips had stuck to the drying pillowcase. Even then, it could have been a grimace rather than a smile. It's hard to remember back that far.

If you're anything like me, you probably hit the sack each night spent and weary from the day's flurry of activities, berating yourself for not getting enough done, and wake up the next morning already stressing about how you're not going to get it all done again today.

But we all know that starting the day off with the right attitude is essential to how the rest of the day is going to play out, so it's important to get up on the right side of the bed, so to speak. (Ahem.)

There are lots of practical ways to quick start a great morning attitude. We could meditate or offer up a little prayer like our more pragmatic friends. We could go over our finely arranged organizer and prioritize our activities for the day. We could do squat thrusts in the kitchen while waiting for our frozen waffles to pop out of the toaster, just like the annoyingly perky and perfect blond who's always giving advice on the Dr. Oz show.

Ugh, please. If I can drag my aching, irritable, half-asleep self out to the patio without spilling my coffee on myself or my cat after stepping on a Lego piece, all I can promise is to not get out the air-soft pistol and shoot the birds singing so sweetly in the trees. (For the record, that is NOT music. And I don't appreciate the gift you left all over my car, either.)

Those practical ideas are practically impossible for me. The closest I come to praying in the morning is "Dear God, I promise to be good for the rest of my life if you cancel everything I have to do for just ONE day." Modern conveniences have made me lazy, and if I was blond and perky, I wouldn't need tricks to make me smile in the morning.

Furthermore, I leave myself only about five minutes of extra time in the morning so as to get as much sleep as possible. So if you're anything like me, I have a couple of Lazy Gal's (or Guy's) easy, quick, and, as mentioned, lazy suggestions for putting a smile on that face at the butt-crack of dawn each morning.

1. Take a silly picture of yourself and text it to all your friends. Ask for one in return.

2. Jump on Facebook and make your status, "Say something stupid to me. Go!"

3. While you drink your coffee, fantasize that you're the boss at work.

4. Elf yourself. (For those of you who haven't experienced this marvel of modern technology, it's on the Staples website, and it's available year-round.)

5. Use the search function on Twitter or Google, and type in something ridiculous like "squirrel wearing a wig."

6. Make your cat/dog chase a laser pointer. I can't help it,  this one always cracks me up. Alternately, have a conversation with your pet and provide his voice. (I actually have videos of me voicing over my cats, but that's an activity for a more lucid time.)

7. "Accidentally" call your kids by the wrong names. Look confused when they correct you. It'll crack them up, and nothing makes a smile quicker than a child's laughter.

8. Again with the kids — give them ice cream for breakfast. It won't kill them every once in a while, and they'll make you feel like freakin' Superman. Actually, while you're at it, have ice cream for breakfast yourself.

9. Think back to a time when you and your BFF did something REALLY stupid. Call and leave it on her voicemail and try not to laugh.

10. Type a text or email saying "I love you" or "I miss you" or another appropriate sentiment and send to everyone in your contact list. The responses you get will have you smiling all day long.