Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No Complaints Please

The other day I was driving to work and happened to hear a story that made me smile. Apparently, the city government here in town had declared November 25 "No Complaining Day." The idea was that it would be nice to have a day to focus on the things about which we can be positive rather than just bitching and complaining.


One of my biggest pet peeves is with people who do nothing but spread negative energy and complain nonstop. Please understand that I am not a perfect Pollyanna. Yes, I complain, but at the same time, I also try to be as positive as I can as much as I can. I find it so wearying to deal with people who are negative, particularly when it's about silly stuff.

So what made me think of No Complaining Day today? Well, let me tell you a little story.

Perhaps you've seen in the news that the Midwest has had a pretty rough time of it weatherwise over the past couple days. Temps have plummeted, winds are going crazy, and snow blankets the ground. My town didn't get hit quite as hard as other places (I know it's crazy in Iowa right now), but it's still pretty nasty. We were dismissed early from school yesterday because the forecast said the nastiness was on its way. We left the building yesterday with this sort of unsaid understanding that today would most likely be a snow day.

I woke up this morning to my alarm, not a phone call. I shrugged and kind of slowly began getting ready for work, figuring the call would eventually come. It didn't. I looked out my window and thought, "You know, it really doesn't look that awful." My sister and I took off a little early since we were meeting and picking up a co-worker of mine. As we waited for my co-worker, my sister heard that the school where she works had cancelled classes, so we dropped her off at home before heading off for our school.

Once we got on the roads, I could see they were pretty nasty. It wasn't that the roads themselves were bad; it was that the wind was really bad and that made visibility really challenging. My car, a Chrsyler Sebring, isn't a great car for wind. It's a pretty light car and is easily battered around when it's windy out. We slowly but surely made our way the 20 or so miles to work, pulling into the parking lot a minute or two before we are contractually obligated to be in the building (20 minutes before students arrive).

As I got out of the car, I could see another teacher angrily stomping around the parking lot. He came over to tell us that school had been cancelled about 15 minutes earlier. He was livid, swearing and yelling and getting all worked up. Yes, he had had to drive from out of town and had to drive further than I had. I can understand his frustration and yet . . .

I guess my thought is why get all worked up about something you ultimately can't control? Was I a little annoyed that I had gotten up early, driven in nasty conditions, only to find out it was all for naught? Sure. I can't lie on that one. But that initial thought of, "Oh, man, that sucks" was immediately followed by, "But cool ... snow day. I can get a lot done!"

Once inside, there were more teachers stomping around angrily. When I got on facebook, it was loaded with people complaining about the late call (including one student who "singled me out" for pity as he had seen me pull into the parking lot at 7:44 and knew I was driving from a distance). Maybe it made them feel better. You know what made ME feel better? Coming home, having a rare second cup of coffee and another piece of toast while I watched Will & Grace. And I didn't complain about it for a second.

So, Gingerphiles, I offer you a challenge -- pick one day in the coming weeks (before the end of the year) and give yourself the treat of not complaining. If things get to you, face them with a smile and a shrug. See the opportunities that may exist in those annoyances rather than the hindrances. I have a sneaking suspicion that this one day of positivity just may be the thing to get the holiday spirit really pumping, and your blood pressure may thank you.


Danielle Mari said...

I LOVE this idea! As per usual, you have obviously been spying on me... er... uh... that's not quite right. You've been spying in my brain, as I have been thinking this exact same thing today. I have this co-worker that I respect, admire, and often adore. Lately, though... and I don't know if I've just suddenly noticed it, or if she's just having a rough time- but every day is a disaster for her. A long line of painful episodes in which she sees herself as the victim of various happenstances. It has made me look at myself and wonder how much I complain. I think it's too much! Great post! I'll pick a day... not sure when yet.

WOTD option

Jen said...

Great idea! I found myself bah-humbugging last night when I was putting up a few holiday decorations (having decided that if I waited until the house was clean enough to be ready I'd be putting up decorations NEXT December) and it was no fun at all. No better time for a reminder that often the difference between a good day and a bad day is my attitude.

Danielle Mari said...

Awesome, Jen. From now on, I'll blame your attitude when I have a bad day ;)

Peter said...

But I never complain about anything.

[dicnile] Denial? Yup. :)