Monday, August 25, 2014

Pardon Me While I Energize Your Day With My Complaining.

You may have heard of things like 100 Happy Days where you pledge to have 100 happy days in a row and find something good about each day. And there are also people who tell you you should write down what you are grateful for in a journal before bed every night. I think these kinds of ideas are all great.

The thing is, for me at least, it is hard to be happy every day. Because some days I am not happy. Things go wrong or someone is mean or my lessons aren't working at all, and those are just not happy things. But one thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is that I am inclined to panic. About everything. I had a doctor tell me once that I tend to "catastrophize" things, and that person could not have been more right. It is very easy for me to go from I have a ton of papers to grade plus my own homework to do into MY LIFE IS FALLING APART AND I AM THE WORST PERSON EVER AND I WANT TO DIE. Laugh if you must, but it's so true! :) (If you know me, you know.)

Another thing I know about myself is that we are heading into the time of year that is harrrrrrrrd for me. I love fall as much as the next person -- I drive the pumpkin spice bandwagon -- but fall is a short slide into winter. And winter and I do not agree. It goes beyond seasonal affective disorder into something else entirely. The cold and the gray and the short days have the ability to change me completely, and I know just how bad that can be, having lived with myself for 30 years. So now, not only is winter bad, but I also fear its bad-ness, making it even more bad. Make sense?

I thought to myself the other day that I can be a bit of a complainer. The students did this or that, I have so much grading to do, these master's classes look ridiculously hard, my computer was going way too slowly, blah, blah. I honestly thought, I bet I'd be embarrassed to tally in a day how many things I say that are complaints. Oh, especially EVERYONE's favorite complaint "I'm tired." What a cliche now, right? Like it seems that we are all tired all the time. And that cannot possibly be true. I mean, feel free to disagree, but if we are all tired, all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (and we don't have some sort of illness) then can it really be true? It seems that "I'm tired" has become the thing we say when we don't know what else to say, and when did supercalifragilisticexpialidocious go out of style?

At any rate, I am in no position whatsoever to tell anyone else what to do. But I was thinking for myself that I am going to really concentrate on not being such a complainer. I'm going to see if I can go just one day without really complaining about anything. And then maybe I'll try to go two days, and then maybe a whole week! I'm also going to stop saying I'm tired. I'm tired is such a, well, tired phrase. And I'm also fairly certain that none of us ever felt more energized or more positive after having a conversation with a complainer. So I hate to think how much I've dragged other people's days down with my complaining. I'm sure there's a Berenstein Bears book about this I could read.

If you see me in person or talk to me regularly, please know that I am honestly directing effort into not complaining. Not about my life, not about the actions of other people, nothing. Will there be things that come up that are "worth" complaining about? Um, yes. Will I fail? Most likely there will be times I will, but I am going to give it all I have. I'll let you know how it goes.

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