I’m trying something new today. For 24 straight hours, starting when I woke up, 6:30am, I am going to avoid complaining about anything at all- out loud or in my head. I am going to make a note of any deviations and see how well I manage. It’s only 24 hours. I got the idea from a book I read yesterday.

I spend too much time thinking about how things screwed up, didn’t come out right, are hard, or unfair. In the end…it’s wasted time. Because none of it can be changed and, more importantly, it makes me miss the forest for the trees. I’m lucky as hell.

I love rankings. And if there was a way to rank the 6.8 billion people on the planet on how ‘fortunate’ they have been, I’d be damn near the top. But I still spend time dwelling (mostly in my head) on every little thing that doesn’t go perfectly. I want to stop that.

To start off my new quest, here’s a brief list of big things I’ve got…

1) A family that shows unconditional love. We don’t have much money or fame or class or suave or looks. And so we don’t judge anyone else who doesn’t have those things either. I take for granted how amazing it is to know that no matter what I ever do…how badly I ever fail…I can go home and be surrounded by people reminding me that I am smart and successful and worthwhile and unique. Billions don’t really have that.

2) Friends who never cease to make me feel like a part of a something special. One of the coolest feelings in my short life so far is knowing that the people that allow me to spend time with them are the same people who know all about my good moments, bad moments, and everything in between. Being able to be 100% honest without trying to fit a ‘mold’ is a rarer gift than I usually realize.

3) Living in this country at this time in history. I have the freedom to pursue love and life in my way because of where I live and when I live. I shudder to think of how much tougher my life would be otherwise.

4) My health. There is nothing physically that I cannot do (or try to do). Two arms, two legs, functioning lungs, good eyes, sharp ears…none of these are guaranteed forever.

Actually, if I can keep those 4 things for most of my life I will stay in that top 1% of people on the planet. My complaining about everything else is irrelevant.

So far two hours awake…no complaints…

…Adding… 1 complaint already. I couldn’t stop myself. At the gym this morning I went on in my head for about 15 seconds about how packed the free weight section was and how ridiculous it was to have a single regular bench press for the entire place. Eeek.

…Adding… 2 complaints. Stepped on the scale and noticed I had lost 2.5 pounds this weekend. The opposite of what I want to do. I couldn’t stop myself from bitching in my head about it.

…Adding… 3 complaints. When I checked my bank account, I grumbled about this screwy company that has yet to refund my $110 dollars. It’s been 2 business days. They said they’d get it in 3-5. Oops.

…Adding… 4 complaints. Fiasco at the Credit Union. I needed a check voided and a new one cut. They wouldn’t let me void the check unless I physically had it with me. I don’t. I wasted about 5 minutes cursing under my breath, thinking about how I would write a strongly worded email expressing my disappointment with the services provided by the UIUC Credit Union. Breathe…Breathe… This is all becoming harder than I thought. I need much work. Ha.

…Adding… 5 & 6 & 7 complaints. There was some drama today regarding my future Chicago apartment. The company said that I made out the security deposit incorrectly and kept warning that the entire lease could be lost. I wasted a good 35 mental minutes cursing their idiocy. Later, I forgot my password to check on the status of my loans for law school. I grumbled about how difficult it was to remember. I then bitched to myself when customer service calls to the loan company didn’t go through after 25 minutes. But I’m feeling much better. Serenity Now. Serenity Now.

4 thoughts on “Thankful

  1. Paul, i loved this post. Very cool idea about not complaining, i know i couldnt do it. Also, complaining about losing 2 pounds? … crazy

  2. Haa haa… I, for one, would find this task next to impossible because I whole heartedly believe in cathartic complaining- bitch once, get it off your chest, be free of it and move on…

  3. Ha. I think that you both have the potential to do even better than I did at it.

    7 complaints so far that I caught. Though I’ll forgive myself that 4 of them were a string of related things. This was a tough day to try this thing out. I’m hoping I’ve calmed the storm for the rest of the night though.

  4. Oh boy, you have so much to learn. Air does not roll over my lips unless it is laced with complaints. Thats why god gave us vocal cords – so that we can let other people known how badly they suck. However, we learned to respect one another. So now we keep it to ourselves and then tell everyone else but the person who sucks. Its a good system. Own it.

    On a more real note – I totally agree – I’m a complaining machine. I understand how terrible it is, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Complaints started this country right? Maybe the pilgrims should have been more grateful about their situation hmm? Plus – we have thanksgiving for a reason. One day a year is enough right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s