- Thoughts for inspired living

May 26, 2008

Angry Old Men

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:40 am

Old is always a relative term. I once heard it said that old is 10 years older than you are and rich is $10,000 more than you make. Of course, dimes have changed since I first heard those expressions.

Lest you think this is just about men, I encourage you to read on.

My experience is that angry old men are sick old men. Same for women.

Just notice that the anger was there before the sickness arrived. Reminds me of a story . . .

I often said I never had a bad day on the golf course. I only play about 10 times a year, so the odds are in my favor. My record was broken two years ago when I played with the most miserable person I have ever encountered on the golf course or anywhere else. This guy was about 12 years older than me and had the foulest mouth I’ve ever heard – and I was in the US Navy for 3 years, 5 months, 22 days and 8 hours. This man complained about everything and would spew his venom at anyone within earshot. I wasn’t there to conduct an inquiry, only to play golf, but after about 4 holes of this aberrant behavior, the people helper in me rose to the surface and I began asking him questions. At least that way I could lead the discussion and head it in a more conducive direction for playing a round of golf.

I said to him, “You seem to be in pain.” That was all I needed to say to confirm the topic of today’s blog. He launched into every malady in the Merck Manual and told me the medications he was taking for each. He cursed doctors, nurses, medicine companies, hospitals, orderlies, candy stripers and his dead wife – all on the putting green of one hole. There was no getting this man to entertain the role he played in getting to this point, and there was no sense in pointing him in a direction to alleviate his anger and pain. Sad to say, this man will die an angry old man because his ego will not allow him to be responsible for his own life.

I made an attempt to think what it was like to be that miserable and my body began to ache. I quickly began thinking about something else.

Anger is really a sign of sadness not dealt with. This person had so much sadness beneath the surface which fueled his anger, exacerbated his misery and caused his maladies. He will only get sicker no matter what health care practitioner he visits. Able physicians know who’s going to get better and who isn’t no matter what level of care they provide.

My golfing partner is beyond help unless he has a personal epiphany. Lucky for me he was only playing 9 holes.

There is help for the rest of us. If you are angry and have more going on with you physically than the others in your age group, you may want to investigate the sadness below your anger. Anger will eat you up and manifest itself as some label on your hospital chart. Notice the sadness below anger. Allow yourself to be with the emotion. Don’t tell yourself stories about how you became sad; just notice the sensations in your body that you label as being sad.

There is a transmutational effect to exploring and sitting with your sadness. It allows it to dissipate and makes room for other sensations to enter your body – ones that are more supportive of your health.

Being with your sadness reminds me of one of my mother’s sayings:

“If you’re mad, you’ll get glad again.”

All the best,


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