The other day, some friends and I were whining in the manner that friends whine to each other. Subjects included hot flashes, muscle pain, weather, children, work, writing, weather, boredom, professional organizations, siblings, parents, weather, coworkers…uh…kind of everything under the sun. And it was funny, because just recently, I’d been aggravated by a person who’s very negative. I was complaining about a complainer. Whining about a whiner.
Then, in the manner that the universe sometimes lets you know you need to snap out of it, I saw something on the internet: the 24-Hour No Complaining Challenge. “I’m not complaining for 24 hours!” I immediately announced to McIrish. “Oh, boy,” he said, which made me wonder just how much of a little black rain cloud I’ve been lately.
And so it began. Weather was the first challenge; it hasn’t been beautiful around here, all that melting, gritty snow, and then rain, and then more snow. But that was okay! Because complaining wasn’t going to change it! Besides, it builds character. Then came parking in a city notorious for bad parking. Not a problem! The parking gods smiled on us, and we found a spot. Already, it seemed, my karma was being returned.
Then a serious challenge: the Apple store, which I’ve previously called Dante’s Fifth Circle of Hell. But no! I didn’t even make fun of the hipsters and their indoor hats. I was feeling the bliss. I was Miss Ray of Sunshine! Our genius actually fixed our problem! And you know, I did feel happier.
Just deciding not to vocalize the little negatives for this window of time made be feel extremely optimistic. I bounced into a restaurant, made friends with the maître d’ just like that, cheerfully ordered a jalapeno martini, and proceeded to have a great date night with McIrish. When the guy next to me failed to be as friendly as I was, I didn’t even tell McIrish about it. Messy house? Not a problem. I cheerfully enlisted the boys to help me clean up. Cat barf? That’s okay! It happens. McIrish inviting 20 people over without telling me? I will bake cookies for everyone! (That one was a little hard, I admit. But it was done, so why whine?)
The 24 hours flew by. I decided to go for 48. Seconds after announcing that, I walked into the garage door, which wasn’t up all the way, hit my head, and the streak was over. But guess what? I can start my 24 hours again at any moment.