Complaining is the metro New York area sport, and not only do we enjoy it, but we do it with panache. We complain about politics, the weather, and each other with such hyperbole and gusto, that we have brought it to an art. This is a life-long habit/sport/artform for most of us – so much so, that we hardly even notice that we are doing it any more.
If you were able to just be yourself for an entire day, and then go back and count the number of complaints versus positive statements you made during the entire day, I’ll bet you a bottle of Manhattan Coffee Soda that you will find the ratio of complaints to positive statements is overwhelming. That’s not a judgement, that’s just the way people are. If it’s snowing like gangbusters outside and the roads are miserable, you almost don’t want to hear some Pollyanna talk about how pretty everything is. You want to commiserate with your fellow humans about how ugly your commute is now. If you were to be positive all the time, you’d likely be dragged off and medicated for your own protection, because the rest of us grumps would smack you over the head with some blunt object, just to give you something to complain with us about.
Having said all of that, it’s important to occasionally reflect on the nature of our complaints, and compare them to the complaints of others, just to get a little perspective. There are thousands of people in the Phillipines right now who have lost every worldly possession. Can we even imagine that? I know that I’m paraphrasing John Lennon’s “Imagine” by asking this question, but it was a damn good question in the first place. Can we even imagine the hardship of losing every single thing you owned? Not even to mention the massive loss of life that unfortunately comes along with these natural disasters. It makes one ashamed to complain about digging your car out of the snow. At least you have a car…and a shovel…and a home to go into to warm up after taking care of that chore.
The holiday season is the natural time to reflect upon the blessings we have, and the great luck that we have not to be those who do without. It’s also a good time to do something to make another person’s life just a little better. There are a million things that you can do to make someone else’s day brighter, to give them hope or a moment of comfort and support. We just all, myself included, have to remember that we don’t have to wait for the holidays to do those things.
Happy Holidays to all, and since we are all going right back to complaining, let’s at least think of some creative ones.