Something is better than something else

It’s pretty easy to complain. It’s easy because it’s lazy.

We (you, me; people) complain because being the victim is exciting. Particularly if nothing bad actually happened. Like, we were up late last night and – oh god – we’re sooo tired today.

I’m going to interrupt myself to posit an exception to this entire argument, and that is healthy venting. Sometimes a series of events or a relationship or group of relationships becomes overwhelming in some capacity and the only way for a person to come to grips or see the way to a solution is to lay it all out. That’s venting. Venting in order to get constructive feedback and find a solution is healthy venting. That’s good. It helps take a problem and make it no longer be a problem any more. So that’s the exception.

I used to make a mental note to remember every stupid decision every other driver made while driving so I could tell my husband about it later. That’s pointless complaining (confession: I still sometimes do this if someone does something really absurdly daft). It was also exhausting. And I would invariably get over the idiocy of the other driver pretty quickly, but because I wanted to remember it, I would remember it later and get angry all over again. That’s not healthy.

Happy is better than angry. It’s harder, too. The minute I see someone run a red light just because they can I have to sternly tell myself to get over it right now. There’s nothing I can do about it. God knows the police don’t seem interested in those kinds of violations. The only thing I can do is drive as safely as I can and try to anticipate those scenarios so I can avoid them. But trying to drive defensively and worrying about my children in the car and trying to remember every traffic violation I see is taxing. It makes me distracted. It makes me unhappy. That makes me worse at driving which is the opposite of what I want when I’m driving Henry and Eleanor around.

When I purposely “forget” what other drivers seem so selfishly to do, I find myself happier almost right away. And this extends beyond driving, quite obviously. The less I try to remember little slights, the happier I am. But it’s easier to retain those hurts and complain about them later – whether publicly or privately. The truth, however, is this: who cares? Who cares if someone rained on your parade? I kinda don’t. I just want to get on with my own life. So you can bitch and moan and bring everyone down, and know that you’ll do so and then everyone will forget about it almost immediately, or you can be a little bit more positive about things, and even if people forget about what was nice or good, they will be a better mood. Nice begets nice and mean begets mean. I know which one I’d rather be out there spreading around.

So don’t be surprised that if you’re always complaining you find yourself blocked.

I leave you with this.

The joy of silliness

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