It was Bingo Monday at one of my facilities today. To be clear – in the land of Assisted Living, Bingo is no joke. There are rules, there are prizes, and when you don’t draw Mildred’s numbers, there are audible sighs and serious eye rolling. I often joke that if I don’t call the right numbers, the residents will slash my tires. I’m only half kidding! There’s a way we do Bingo at Shady Acres (names have been changed to protect the innocent;).
And I’m also reminded, there’s a way we do friendship as females. This particular group of ladies takes me right back to my middle school days. On one fine Bingo Monday, one of the ladies picked out some Little Debbie snack cakes as her prize, and the gal next to her was kind enough to lean over and whisper to a neighbor (in the loudest voice she had), “like she needs those!” WHAT!?!? I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing. And I was quick to set a new rule – no prizes to those who are unkind (like the Seinfeld Soup Nazi – “no prize for YOU”). I really struggle with this female dynamic, and not that I haven’t ever been guilty, but my goodness…this life is tough. Why in the WORLD do we as females make it more difficult by being so darned ruthless to one another!?
Another middle school dynamic that shows up on Bingo Mondays, is the cool kids table. Fran saves a seat for Letty Mae, but when Eleanor shows up, the table is suddenly full. I find myself moving walkers and wanting to knock some noggins when this happens, as there is ALWAYS room for more friends at Bingo!? We’ve all been there, when no one saves a space for us, but I was certain that this phenomenon would be solved by the time we landed in “the home”. Not the case! In fact, in many ways, I’ve observed it to be worse. Filters are gone, and unkindness abounds.
So, what if we started, even right now (long before many of us are headed to “the home”), to be kind to one another? What if we started building one another up, instead of whispering and gossiping, and tearing one another apart? What if we saved a seat for one another at the table – and overlooked the Little Debbie choices that we sometimes make? What if we lead with love and acceptance, instead of criticism and shame?
“Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good, kick them to the curb. And the earlier you start in your life the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non-included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it.”
- Amy Poehler