My mom would be the first to tell you that I am a complainer. My friends frequently suffer through my long-winded rants while I simultaneously reject any of their efforts to resolve my problem. Mary, my best friend, has told me I will be the worst pregnant woman to ever exist because of how much she anticipates I will complain. For the record, I think I will be an angelic, glowing, wonderful pregnant lady.
I should disclose that I consider myself to be an above-average positive, optimistic individual. Most of my complaints are followed up with a best-case scenario thought, or a classic look-on-the-bright-side comment. I simply feel the need to let anyone around me in on my full train of thought, so the complaints are just par for the course.
There is no better environment to complain than in the few minutes before my Tuesday and Thursday 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. class.
Typically, my friend Isa welcomes me to class with a low-energy hello before we get right into it, bouncing complaints off each other as if we are trying to see how many we can fit in the five minutes before our professor starts the lecture.
I’m hungry. I’m tired. I’m cold. I have so much work to get done tonight. I just had to speed walk here from the other side of campus. You know — the classics.
One Tuesday, I began our pre-lecture ritual with my initial complaint of the day — probably something about how my parents won’t let my dogs come live with me in Boston. Shockingly, it was not reciprocated. Isa sympathized with my grievance, then went on to explain that she had decided today would be a “no complaints day.”
Some may say this was the ultimate act of betrayal. I know it was to me.
With my initial remark left hanging, Isa persevered. We spent the entire 75-minute lecture and the 25-minute walk back to our apartments without another complaint. For two college students with midterms looming, this is practically unheard of.
Quite frankly, it wasn’t that hard. Not complaining did not mean not talking — Isa and I have no problem when it comes to talking. Our conversation just revolved around detailing our lives to each other in a positive light or giggling about our professor’s cat, who we learned was named after Taylor Swift.
You may be very concerned that Isa’s no complaints day has sworn off my whining for good. I assure you, I have definitely let a few complaints slide since and will most certainly find something to rant about in the future, which I think is just human nature.
While going through life, moments will inevitably upset me or a situation will annoy me, and thus, complaints will be said. This is okay.
It’s the thoughtless comments — the ones I am not sure if I am saying because they are true or I am saying simply to fill up space in a conversation — that I have become hyper aware of. My brain’s version of autopilot is to exclaim that I am hungry. This declaration normally comes as a surprise to my stomach, signaling just how pointless of a complaint it was.
Choosing to not let these comments slip through the cracks is where a no complaints day comes into play. Thinking just a little harder, past the easy complaints, and trying to come up with something neutral or even positive to say has truly made these no complaints days better.
Complaining is a hard habit to break. And I have certainly not done it yet, but deciding to make a day a no complaints day may be the start. Who knows? I might just prove my friend Mary wrong and be the first pregnant woman to never complain — with a heavy emphasis on the “might.”