I did some research on attitude with the idea in mind to publish snippets of attitude advice in an informative column about how attitude impacts one's health. I actually had my opening paragraph almost complete; it went like this: “Wanna feel better? Get some attitude. I don't mean that cocky look at me attitude or the silly, frivolous, ‘girls just wanna have fun’ kind of thing. I'm talking about that unshakable confidence and quiet surety that comes from knowing you can do whatever you set your mind to doing.”
Call it fate, call it karma, call it nonsense; but, as I was writing that line, something triggered an ancient memory. In a flash, my train of thought derailed and I was sitting at my desk recalling an incident that occurred when I was in my 30’s. I was having lunch with my peers - a group of dedicated Silicon Valley career women. Seated at a large table next to us, smack in the center of a pompous teahouse, was a group of giggling ladies dressed in red and purple.
These ladies were not at all intimidated by their surroundings; nor, were they impressed that the place was packed with the town’s movers-and-shakers having staid business lunches. They simply ignored the disdainful looks of other customers, and concentrated on having a great time, being silly and enjoying each other’s company.
I was envious. I would have rather been with those ladies than lunching with my co-workers and discussing our next career move.
This group so impressed me that I did a little checking and discovered they were members of the Red Hat Society; but, alas, I also discovered that I was too young to join their fun group. Regretfully, I put the Red Hat Society on the back burner, admired their gumption and gutsiness from afar and vowed one day to become a Red Hatter.
When my trip down memory was over and got my train of thought back on the rails, I knew that I wasn’t going to write the column as I had originally planned. Oh, I still appreciate the wisdom of displaying a quietly confident attitude; I still believe that folks can do whatever they set their mind to doing.
My Grandma displayed that attitude and made sure that her granddaughters were schooled in it. She was a proper lady and a respected member of the community. She was loved and admired by almost everyone who knew her. She regularly advised me; “Be a lady; never forget that ladies don’t sweat they perspire; refined ladies don’t let anyone see them perspire or hear them laugh too loudly.”
Sorry Granny, I tried it your way, but, I really was never a “lady” at heart. Now that I’m old, it’s time to cut the pretense and let the silly, whimsical attitude hidden inside me come out and have its day in the sun. To that end, I’ve joined the Red Hat Society and become a Red Hat Diva.
I’m not gonna kick over the traces and devote all my time to silliness. Within me, as within most of us, silly and serious coexist and they are most beneficial when they play together in harmony.
Some dictionaries define silly as stupid and list it as a negative word. I disagree! Silly is not a negative word. I opt to define silly as playful. I seldom confuse silly with stupid; some of the most stupid things that I have ever encountered occurred while serious minded people were attempting to do serious things.
My goal is to completely rid myself of the notion that silly is stupid -because it’s just NOT SO!! A movie, play, song, or newspaper column can be silly without being stupid; actually many silly things are positively profound.
I believe that a little bit of silliness, done in the name of fun and frivolity is a good thing. The trick for balancing silly and serious is to take fun seriously enough so that you use it to off-set the weight that seriousness often imposes on the soul. Lately, I’m intentionally including a bit of silliness in my life. This has resulted in a pleasant shift in my energy. I’m feeling light hearted and have a spring in my step that wasn’t there before.
So if you see an old lady (oops! I meant to say old woman) proudly wearing a purple sweatshirt imprinted with red letters that proclaim “Well-behaved women seldom make history!” it will probably be me.
So, give a toot and I’ll wave at ya.