Do You Want To Be Happy? Or Just Be Mad!

I don’t usually do duplicate blogs because some readers read both this and the California HOA & Condo Law blog(both being availalble  on the mainpage of my website at  But here goes, this is an important message – if it gets through to ONE PERSON I have done by part to make the world a better place today!


This is a topic near and dear to my heart because I see many many people in my work – and also other areas of life – who are mad, and I don’t mean a flare up, I mean that is the way they live their lives.

It’s okay to be mad about something. Life does not always go the way we want it to. Stuff happens that is out of our control and the way we deal with it is what determines whether we are happy or mad. Being mad does no good. Looking for solutions, seeking help, thinking things through, looking for a way to turn a distasteful situation around, those are reactions that do something good.

You might say who am I to talk. But here’s the short scoop. Like many, but I have faced challenges and hurdles in my life.  I have always been tall and big for my age. In younger years that challenged my self confidence royally. I was a victim of considerable teasing.  I have in my life experienced the death of a grandchild (my very first, and after the high that comes with that gift) through a painful process of looking for a cure for hystiosytosis. I’ve lost numerous pets and friends, saw family members working through very tough situations, have a son that was in the military and a policeman, have been dealing with aged parents who are suffering (trying to keep on a good face),  could’ve died from a blood clot and pulmonary embolism a few years ago, had knee replacement surgery, several hospital stays in my life, suffered economic distress, had to recreate myself and my practice more than once to survive, and thrive, have made a few enemies without even trying.  There are people who are worse off than me, amd better off than me, and people whose attitudes I admire and try to emulate.

I choose to focus on the good, to turn situations around and to start getting up almost (working to this point) the moment I start to fall down. It’s a lot more productive. I can stop crying or griping and concentrate on something useful, like writing this blog.

I live in a townhouse right now, one I have owned for years. I tried to sell it for more than 11 years and had sales fall through because of some strange things, and some normal things. A realtor died in the middle of one transaction and the buyers backed out. The next buyers read the documents 4 days before closing backed out because the place was on leased ground from the city (although they had had the documents for weeks). A realtor put a bid in sight unseen because of the location on behalf of a client, promising she was familiar with all the floor plans, and aborting a weekend open house, and the Monday after the buyer backed out. And of course, there was then the 8+ year construction defect litigation, and the subsequent 1+ year reconstruction. I have seen lots of stress pass through my neighbors and the workers. Those people that remain vindictive, mad, frustrated and complain, complain, complain will probably always be complainers. Those that ask questions, look for the best outcome, accept some things including some responsibility for helping to find a solution are happier people. They may have days where they are stressed and frustrated (including me) and they may say things that are uncharacteristic, but they realize it and do something about it (like apologize).

These (the ones that are looking for solutions instead of muddling around in the distress) are the ones that are going to go on with life, find a better path, and hopefully be happy.

Don’t  you want to be one of those? Or one of the persons that just remains mad, day after day, mad at the world, mad at the developer, mad at the board, mad at homeowners, mad at co-workers, bosses, the weather, the sun, the rain, everything. It’s your health and your life -and it is your ability to choose.

(I’ll get off my soapbox now. I just think some people miss the trees because of the forest, or miss the forest for the trees, however you want to look at it.)

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5 Responses to Do You Want To Be Happy? Or Just Be Mad!
  1. Michael E. McGann
    May 24, 2013 | 1:11 pm

    Well said Beth. I try to be the same way, and I will admit, it is difficult when you must deal with difficult people. Some actually enjoy misery, but they always want to draw in the others to share in it.

    “Misery loves company” as someone said, but I refuse to be unhappy “on purpose.”

    • Beth Grimm
      May 31, 2013 | 4:42 am

      Thanks for the feedback. I deal with difficult people too, much of the time. However, difficulty often stems from the basic idea that there is a strong difference of opinion, and too much focus on being right or making another person wrong. Sure, there are “impossible” people who will not listen to reason or think logically, or listen, but “difficult people” are little more than a challenge to be met with the right attitude which might be (and in my case sometimes is) “Maybe I can teach them something.” And then I try, using my knowledge, experience, researched facts. And sometimes I find they teach me something instead – like patience, perseverance, understanding, or empathy, or appreciation that I do not live in their negative space.

  2. Carolyne Swayze
    May 28, 2013 | 2:42 pm

    For the past two years I have served on an a HOA board, in the capacity of board secretary. My term will be up this September and I intend to run again because I am concerned about the competency and effectiveness of the current governance. While I can’t run for president, I do want to begin a campaign within our 53 unit village where my desire for that seat is clearly understood. How close to the September election should I begin, and are there any pit falls I should watch for?

    • Beth Grimm
      May 31, 2013 | 4:37 am

      My suggestions for anyone wanting to run for the board is the earlier you start and the more good information that you provide people, the more likely you are to gain ground. Stick to facts to avoid any basis for a defamation lawsuit. Stick to points that you can back up with information. Keep things simple. If you think records will help, look at Civil Code Section 1365.2 to see what owners can get and what penalties you might be able to threaten if the board does not provide records it is required to provide.

      You can have coffee klatches, go door to door, either get a membership list or present a letter to owners to the board for sending from a mail house if they will not provide the list.

      The truth is that most current directors do not make a big effort to get re-elected but instead presume that no one else has a chance.

      Owners who want to run based on criticizing the current board members currently, rather than the decisions being made on behalf of the association, can expect considerable pushback, and often a threatening letter from the association attorney, whether statements made are true or not.

      The hardest thing to do is get other owners interested in what is going on. It is the apathy factor that ultimately gets proactive members who butt up against the old guard who don’t want newcomers on the board.

      In many cases though, owners have been able to effect change by running on a positive platform that convinces owners new blood is needed on the board.

      • Carolyne Swayze
        June 18, 2013 | 4:43 am

        I just happened to see your response post, and you were certainly right. I sent a three-page letter to the membership by first class mail sharing my experiences over the last two years. In addition, I told them that while I was inclined not to run again, I would reconsider if the membership saw value in what I was saying. Well, the response from the membership, supporting me, was overwhelming, almost 50%. The push back from the board has been just as surprising. If this board worked as hard at carrying out the duties to which they have been entrusted as they do to tarnish my character, we would be a twenty-first century, proactive association. As you predicted, although I told the truth, they have declared my experiences to be” unfounded allegations”. Phoning their supporters, and sending out their own letter (dropped in mailboxes) a special meeting has been called for tomorrow where I suppose they will try to portray me in as bad a light as possible. I will attend, remain as calm as I can and continue to present the facts that clearly show that they put self interest above any fiduciary duty. I’m a little nervous, but I’m comforted by the knowledge that I am right and pray that will be enough for me to be victorious. Otherwise, I might be calling you to obtain information regarding retainer fees. LOL!
        Carolyne Swayze