For those of you that know me I'm sure you know that I love conducting my own personal psychological experiments and surveys amongst myself and friends. A little while ago, I conducted an experiment that sounded simple enough but proved to be extremely difficult. What was this particular experiment you may ask? I tried to go one entire day without complaining! The thing is, I do talk to myself a lot in my own head, so I had to stop subliminally complaining as well. In my lifetime, I know that I have been very very fortunate. How COULD I even think to complain when I'd been so blessed? I suppose I figured I could surely go one day...
I have discovered that whenever we are consciously doing something (or not doing something), we become hyper aware of how often we actually do it. For example, in yoga when they tell us to breathe all the time (conscious breathing), sometimes I think to myself, man, we literally have to breathe every single minute of every single day, forever! What if I don't feel like it anymore? What if I get tired?? Ahhh! And then I start thinking about something else and forget how often I'm forced to breathe. So back to the story... As I became aware of the complaints that I had throughout the course of a day, I realize, I do it all the freakin time! Now, what did I consider to be a complaint exactly? I will tell you. In the simplest form, complaining is expressing dissatisfaction or annoyance (so my alter ego Ann Noid had to be banished). I obviously get annoyed very often, and perhaps it's natural to be annoyed some of the time. Trying to shift your focus from what annoys you about a situation to WHY a situation is seemingly annoying, does help understand the root causes of your overall distaste.
In an effort to try and not complain as much, I continued beyond just the day. Things were going fairly well until one crazy day threw me for a loop... I had just got back from Haiti, and my cat had a sore on his neck. He'd had a sore like this before, so I figured I'd just ask the vet for more of the same medicine right? Wrong! The vet said I had to bring him all the way in again. I didn't really have time (because I was headed to Antigua the next day, and because since I go to a low-cost mobile vet, it was an all day process). There were really no other options since they wouldn't give me the medicine without coming in, so I woke up at 5 am (after going to sleep at 4 am), picked up my cat, took him on the morning NYC rush hour train all the way from Brooklyn to the North Bronx (about 2 and a half hours). Did I mention it was raining and 40 degrees? The mobile vet hadn't arrived yet, so I went to a Starbucks. When I came back, there was a line (that came out of nowhere) of about 25 people (who subsequently got in line before me, even though I was there an hour earlier). I took my number, and since I didn't have a car like the rest of the people, sat outside on the sidewalk to wait. A few hours passed, I went to get a slice of pizza, came back, waited some more...it was now about 3 pm. I was number 22, and they were on number 17 when all of a sudden, an "emergency" took precedence so they held the line. At about 5 pm, they resumed. At this point, I was freezing, wet, sleep deprived, starving, had to pee, (and TMI, it was that time of the month), but I stuck around because I didn't wanna miss my turn. The moment finally came when they called me. Glory! I went in to see the vet. He asked me what was wrong. I told him, the same thing as last time. He prescribed me basically the exact same medicine (that I knew I needed already), didn't even clean his wound off mind you, and sent me on my way. All of which took less than 5 minutes, and cost me $25 for the visit. Had to head all the way back home (lucky me, rush hour again). Didn't walk in my door until 9 pm that evening. Honestly, it was a pretty bad effing day.
In accordance with my not complaining, I didn't tell a soul! Not even anyone closest to me. It was eating me alive! My mind would drift off to all the annoying things that happened that day. I tried to see the positive in it all, there was none it seemed. I tried to realize how lucky I was to be able to take care of an animal in need, that I could even afford to pay for pet care, that I at least had a warm home to come back to. Meh. All meh. I eventually decided to break the experiment and tell my best friend about it. Sweet, sweet relief! I don't know what it was, but I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I literally HAD to get it off my chest and tell someone! I eventually told one other person (and now all of you). I feel even more relieved now actually.
In all of my findings, I have discovered that yes, nobody likes a constant complainer, and sure, there will always be things we COULD complain about. Whoever we are, or wherever we are, things will always be there to annoy us. It's a part of life. Some things (most things) I do believe are good to keep to ourselves and figure out why we are specifically so disturbed, but every once in a while, with close friends who are willing to listen, it's GREAT to get some things out in the open so they won't fester and hurt you even more. There's a fine line people! Also, we should be careful who we trust with our complaints. This is one reason I've stopped using the internet (mainly twitter and Facebook) for my lonely sob stories. I look at my old twitter account from time to time and just shake my head at the desperation for someone to care. Take it upon yourself today and analyze the things you complain about. Do you do it too often? Not enough? Let me know your thoughts!
P.s. Yes, I did make my old twitter private... too embarrassing! But perhaps one day I'll publish a book comprised of old statuses by yours truly.
P.p.s. My cat actually STILL has the sore on his neck! But I can't bring myself to take him to the low-cost vet again, too traumatizing, and definitely can't afford a regular vet. Do any veterinarians read my blog?
P.p.p.s. This exercise has overall helped me to become much less of a complainer in everyday life. Ann noid only makes special guest appearances these days. I miss her though!