On Festivus and the Inconveniences of Taking the High Road…

On Festivus and the Inconveniences of Taking the High Road…

Once again, I missed Festivus. I love the part about “airing of grievances.” For I come from a long line of folks who never do that; we call our lack of rejoinders “taking the high road,” and, indeed, sometimes, most times, it is exactly that. Plus, we get to feel superior to those who thrash and get red-in-the-face in response to an insult, real or imagined.

I am one who finds it exceedingly difficult to air my protests, and though my spouse might deign to disagree, he doesn’t know the half of it. While I have no trouble letting him know exactly how I feel, it is the others, those further removed, yet not removed enough to make them be of no concern, who rankle while I’m practicing being above-it-all.

I have not made public my protests to those “deaths by a thousand paper cuts,” each by itself too trivial, too insignificant, to bring to light – slights delivered with or without a smile, insinuations, exaggerations, or sometimes outright lies. This is how I’ve tried to live my life, what I have advised those who have come to me with both workplace and personal issues. “Take the high road. It will pay off in the long run, and you will feel better about yourself.” And when they followed this advice, which most did, I was there to congratulate and cheer them on.

Now this is one of the great rewards of taking the high road – having someone (or many) know about it. To take the high road in total private – well, you have to have a pretty strong sense of yourself to take solace in that.

And I realized that is what is missing. What I want is someone to say “Wow, are you not great? You are taking the high road. You are the better person. You are a person of character!” That’s what I want to hear. All these years of raising an eyebrow and keeping my counsel, all these years of not reporting what the other person had said or setting the story straight. There are times I want to scream “there are things I know that I haven’t told you because it would hurt your feelings or change your mind about someone you think cares about you.”

But I haven’t, and I don’t think I will. I’m working on leaving all that stewing behind. It benefits no one, especially me. It’s unlikely that I’ll change my ways, and most likely that’s a good thing.

In the end it really won’t matter. In the end we’re all dead anyway, Festivus or no.


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