As I got older, I find myself frowning more. Sometimes, I surprise myself when I look at the mirror and find myself looking very serious. I wasn’t even thinking serious thoughts. Is it really a part of growing older? Naaaah! I see some older people that have a pleasant look at their face.
Flashback to when I was in the first three years in the navy. I was having too much fun (it was a hard life but it was enjoyable too!) that I was always happy. In fact, one of my bosses called me “smiling Eddie”. I was THAT happy!
Then I realized that when I went up in rank, I am responsible and accountable for the person assigned to work for me. A few of them tried to take advantage of my easygoing attitude. Maybe the constant smiling was interpreted as weakness. My supervisor and officer-in-charge dutifully made me aware that I need to be a little assertive.
That’s when I wiped the smile off my face.
Literally and metaphorically.
For the next few years, I had to learn leadership in the lower ranks. I was still a guy having fun inside but I only show my fun part to my family. In the navy, it was almost always businesslike!
I missed being “smiling Eddie” while I was continually getting promoted. I still revived the smiley face every now and then but it tended to be the exception. I had to present a facade of a responsible petty officer and able leader so the easygoing side of me isn’t gonna cut it.
Just months before I retired, I went back to smiling a lot. I knew that retirement is near and soon I will be done with the negatively-charged political environment that is prevalent in the higher enlisted ranks.
I realized that my happy countenance was partly responsible for me having a generally good health in my younger years. After all, my diet was not that good, and I slept less than normal. I exercised but not as much as I would like, and not much after I retired.
Two years after I retired, I went to work in a highly stressful environment. The navy was stressful but there was structure: there was a pattern to daily life which is easily managed by following the “Plan of the Week”. This new job I had was run by several people, with conflicting decisions and indecisions and therefore no structure.
To say it was very frustrating and stressful would be a gross understatement.
My happy face slowly turned to scowl. My health deteriorated from eating fast food due to lack of time. I barely had any exercise so I gained about 30 lbs. Everyday was focused on extreme performance. Profit is the main objective of the firm and we were dragged along to produce it.
Due to an illness, I had to quit the job. We went and moved away to a far country.
We came back after a year. There’s another frustrating incident while we were overseas but after I came back, I felt that I could have that smiling face again.
I plan to keep that smiling face for the rest of my life!
Keep smiling, dear readers!