I’ve been on vacation. Call me paranoid, but after hearing about people being robbed after announcing on FaceBook that they were out of town, I thought I’d wait and mention it after I arrived back at my non-burglarized home.
It was a beautiful trip. Lots of sun, splashing, relaxing, eating and drinking. You’d think I’d have nothing to complain about, but of course I do–about how bleeping hard it is to stop complaining. I took a couple of books with me on my trip: Michael Neill’s SuperCoach, Daniel Amen’s Change Your Brain Change Your Body and Chelsea Handler’s Are You there Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea (which was the most enjoyable).
I like to read Neill’s stuff in bits and pieces. I read a chapter here and there just as mind fodder and I tell myself it makes me a better person. The only thing I’ve read in this current book is the first chapter where he suggests you try going a week without saying a complaint out loud. I thought a week vacationing would be prime time to give it a go.
Of course, it was the week I couldn’t get my laptop to connect the the Wi-Fi at the place where we were staying. I also woke up in the middle of the night every night with major indigestion because I was eating shit foods I don’t normally eat. (I actually stared at the ceiling for a good half hour one pre-dawn morning wondering if a hole had been eaten in my stomach lining. How would I know? It sure felt like it.) The gulf water was too cold to swim in. They began mowing the lawn at the place where we stayed before it was legal (in my opinion) to wake up in the morning. I managed to get two splinters embedded in my foot from the boardwalk at the beach. And the list goes on and on. It’s all pretty mild stuff, and most of it is probably not worth complaining about to most people. My biggest complaint is that I failed at it in part to my tragic flaw of being ADD.
Do you know how hard it is to remind yourself you quit complaining when you can’t quite remember what you were doing thirty seconds ago? On top of it, as previously mentioned in this blog, my mouth sometimes pops things out that I thought I was thinking and didn’t realize I was saying. It’s not a good combination.
It did get me thinking though. At first I was disappointed in how much I complain. But then I started questioning whether or not something was a complaint. Screaming an expletive when a weed-whacker just a wall’s width away blasts you awake isn’t really a complaint is it? What about when you’re getting your toes wet and a salty wave suddenly splashes your warm thighs, taking your breath away and you say “Yikes! That’s cold!” Is that a complaint? Or are you merely pointing out a negative?
But then really, does it matter if it’s a complaint or a negative? Should you be focusing on either one? Not that I can focus on much for an extended period of time–but that other book, the Change Your Brain one is offering me hope for that. It was just enlightening. Many people I know think I’m a positive person. But after failing my repeated trials of refraining from the ultimate in negativity, i.e., complaining, it has me wondering.
I’m still giving it the ‘ole college try. Neill suggests you just start your week over when you catch yourself complaining. It took him a full year to be able to go a week without complaining. I’m giving myself a decade.