A Defeatist Attitude

by Irwin Lengel

Conversation with myself on Tuesday January 7, 2014:

Actually I woke up this morning in the same mood I have been for the past couple of days (down and somewhat depressed) which is a heck of a way to start a new year. After reading a few of the many newsletters I read on a daily basis, all of a sudden I realized that the reason for my mood was me! I had allowed my wife’s recent bout with a cold or flu and thoughts of health problems I am experiencing (my ankles have been swelling each day), to dampen my spirits and cause me to think that “OK, you have passed 73 and she 75, so you are now considered old and your aches, pains, and sicknesses are now going to be a way of life. We will not be able to do all we have been doing in the past and have to slow down and just exist.” In essence, I found myself giving up.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!!! Attitude can do a lot to a person in so many ways. A defeatist attitude – which is the only way to describe the feelings I was having – can slowly cause one to become depressed, moody, and other not so nice things. During that process, one tends to look at things in a negative light without even a hint of sunshine shining through or stated another way one might get the feeling that there is no longer “a light at the end of the tunnel!”

How to handle this dilemma? While sitting there enjoying my cup of coffee and allowing my mind to wander, it was as though someone turned a “light bulb” on in my head. I got to thinking about the routine we usually follow once breakfast is over. You know – simple things like tidying up the house from the night before, washing the dishes or loading them into the dishwasher, and so forth and so on. It is amazing how, sometimes, even the little things we do can bring us so much pleasure and feeling of accomplishment. Actually, leastways in our household, once these chores are attended to, we are ready to move on to whatever else may be on our “to do” list. Today for an instance, we had a line dancing class to teach which always brightens both our spirits, especially if one or even both of us are feeling down. I knew my wife had two projects she has been involved with that were coming up (one due tomorrow – the 8th) and having been sick put her behind. So, helping her with the daily routine of things would also help me. What can I say – simple things make me happy!

And then another thought flashed through my head – I said : “Hey, whatsamatta for you?” Think about all that you have – OK, so your wife had the cold or flu, but she seen the doctor and is on the mend and is feeling much better than she was a few days ago and true you may have a minor health problem at the moment (my ankles and feet) – but you have made a doctor’s appointment to see what is causing it. You cannot do anything about it until he sees you and tells you what the problem might be and then together you will address it. So what else is keeping you down? In a word, “Nothing!” So, get off your butt and do the things that make you happy.

Leaving the conversation I had with myself let me just briefly discuss what I learned from it. This might sound stupid or confusing but sometimes we need to get out of our heads to get into our heads. By concentrating on those things that we do and that make us feel better once they are done, we don’t or shouldn’t have time to concentrate on any negatives. One of the things we keep reading and telling ourselves is that the older we get the more we should live in the moment because life is short. Each day should be a day of fun things especially when we are healthy and not laid up in a sick bed as some people might be.

Bottom line is the fact that we, not others, are the true masters of our destiny. We can wake up each morning saying and thinking to ourselves nothing but “gloom and doom type things” which not only bring ourselves down but also bring those near and dear to us down as well, or, we can wake up and say to ourselves that we are going to make this day as great a day as it can be possibly be and “live for the moment!”

I am happy to say that after having this discussion with myself, and I am glad that I did, I chose the latter, meaning that I intend to “live for the moment!”

With that being said, I will end this (my infrequent blog posting) with my usual ending and that is
"Be happy and keep on dancing!"

Comments for A Defeatist Attitude

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Response to Ade & Liz
by: Irwin

Hi Ade and Liz:

If this is the second time I responded, I apologize but each time I tend to do it, for some reason or another I receive the message that I did not copy the "code" word requested and I know I typed it correctly each time.

But in any case, Ade, I sincerely appreciate your comments and Liz, my wife not only teach line dancing but we take lessons as well so in all we line dance five days a week (Tuesdays and Fridays we teach and Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday we are students)

Actually on Wednesdays we practice for shows we perform in as we are part of a group that performs for free at Retirement Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, and VA Hospitals. Just me and about thirteen (when all of us perform) other women (but I always go home with the same gal I have been going home with for 50 plus years).

I truly appreciate the comments provided by those of you that take the time to read my blogs.

Thanks and I hope the balance of the weekend is great for both of you.


Food for thought
by: Ade

Thanks Irwin that was a nice read and a reminder for us to be more positive in our outlook.

Happy new year and keep on dancing.

Retirement can be so much fun.
by: Liz in Georgia

Hey, Irwin, I was so interested to read that you and your wife teach a line dancing class. How wonderful. If teaching is as much fun as actually just line dancing with the group, you have so much fun.

I always loved dancing and for quite a few years didn't have a partner or didn't feel inclined to find a partner to dance with and then I discovered line dancing. Have been taking classes at senior centers for several years now and can't think of anything I've ever enjoyed this much. Look forward to doing this two days a week and have met so many great people and learned many, many great dances.

I talked this up so much to a friend of mine that lives in California, that didn't know what to do with herself after retirement, and she found some line dance classes and she's deeply involved in it and in her group they do performing all over the Orange County area in California and she's having the time of her life.

If any of you like to dance, you ought to think about line dancing. So much fun.

Found my Mojo Again
by: Irwin L

Hi All:

Just a few words to tell everyone thanks for your kind words in response to my recent post. I do have to say one thing here though and that is that the title that I had planned to show for the recent post was: "Conversation With Myself", not "Defeatist Attitude", as it appeared.
Oops, I did that, Irwin. sorry! Wendy

The point I was trying to make was that all of us, even those of us that are normally upbeat, tend on occasion to have a "bad day" which was what I was having before having "the talk".

In any case, I appreciate everyone's comments and want to make it perfectly clear here that Irwin does not need a "kick in the pants" or anything like that. He has his "Mojo" back and is hoping to provide more ramblings in the days to come.


by: Irwin

Thanks everyone for all your wonderful comments. I may only get to post every now and then but when I do it is usually to share something I feel all of us can learn from.

Thanks for reading my ramblings.


Keep on Dancing
by: Anonymous

HAPPY NEW YEAR to we retired people.

No Time for What Ailes You
by: Joe W.


Hi It seems that we feel a lot more pain when we focus to closely on our health & 'other' problems. It always comes back to attitude and that little voice in your head that says "your all washed up, son"!

Then, I found someone saying that there is a new Fourth Act (80-100) years old that comes after the Second and Third Act of the human life cycle.

I sometimes wonder what health problems people will be complaining about when they start living normally to 150 years old. With all the medical advances these days there might be just a few maladies left to conquer i.e. the common cold and the 'I've got a headache to-night dear'!

Irwin, Happy New Year to you & your Family!

Take Care!

Joe W.

Attitude IS Everything In Life
by: Ricardo

Yes, Irwin, attitude IS everything in this crazy world we live in. It is not WHAT happens in our lives, but how we RESPOND to what happens in our lives......dance on Irwin,dance on! LIFE IS A glorious dance you know.Just follow the music, move out on the floor, and make up the steps as you go!

Look on the bright side
by: James

Yes, it's good to look on the bright side of life. Pick yourself up when you are down. But, unfortunately, quite a few people are unable to do so for various reasons. Be it for mental or practical reasons. But, we should, if possible, be grateful for what we have had or have in our lives.

I'm happy for you
by: Marie

Fantastic that you had that enlightenment in your mind. There is nothing more powerful than a 'light bulb' moment. Everything you say is correct. I'm so happy that you and your wife still live a productive life. That's a cold word but I can't think of a better one right now.

Anyway you have given me food for thought.
I will spend some time getting out of my own blah mood and appreciate the good things about this stage of life. Why be defeatist? You are so right.

Thank you for this posting.

Attitude *
by: Sharyn~~~CANADA

Dear Erwin,

This was great, honest, true, awesome. U really searched your soul for reasons to carry on smiling & dancing. Im sure many of us, who r in yur age bracket appreciate the words of wisdom u have spoken here! I for 1, am going to read this more than once, maybe even twice every day & think about my life & how it relates to my feeling of ups & downs**

Thank YOU for sharing Erwin.

Sharing a Little Happiness
by: Nina from London

This was a great video which after watching several times picked me up and changed my mood! Take a look!


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