I Can’t Complain

Ben - Houghton, Michigan
Entered on October 9, 2008

I believe that life is too short to complain about the little things. I think that no matter what the conditions are, you can always find something to be positive, and optimistic about. I always like to think that I am lucky because there is somebody else that has it worse than I do. Why does a person feel the need to complain? Does it really make you feel better if others feel sorry for you? Does it really make the trek through life’s daily struggles that much easier? Think about when you see a friend, family member, coworker, or even a stranger and ask them how things are going. Are you really asking to find out about all of the things that they don’t like in their life? What happened to a person sharing the best part of their day, or something that they are looking forward to? Unfortunately, I have found that people tend to share the worst part of their day or the part that they are dreading.

Isn’t it ironic that we can find ourselves in conversations that resemble those of when we were kindergarteners going back and forth saying “My toy is better, no mine’s better” but instead these days we can go back and forth saying, “My life is worse”, “No my life is worse.” “No mine’s even worse.” It seems as though too many people think their lives are much worse than everyone else’s. With that said, I guess my point is that I believe the world would be a lot better of a place if everyone shared the best part of their day with others rather than the worst part.

I am not trying to say that I have never complained in my life. Nobody is perfect and I wouldn’t believe anybody who says they never complain. I have however been thinking about my actions a lot more after one recent conversation I had with an old friend. On a sunny, Saturday morning this past summer, I was relaxing in my hammock on the lakeshore. Richard, an older man who loved to fish, walked by after docking his boat. I asked him if he had any luck that morning and he replied, “Nope, no keepers, but I can’t complain. It’s really not worth it because most people don’t listen and the ones who do…they don’t care.” This struck me as one of the wisest things anybody had ever said to me. As I laid there watching the small waves roll in and out, and breathing in the fresh lake breeze, I began to think. I thought about all of the things in my life that weren’t going the way I would have liked. I thought about all of the things that were going to complicate the coming week and how much I didn’t want to do them. As I looked out over the lake I was reminded of how beautiful and enjoyable life can be. I asked myself why would I spoil this place? Why would I spoil this beautiful day by dwelling on the negative aspects of life? There are so many other great things that happen each day that we can be positive about. I believe those are the things we should dwell on, when we get a chance to share a moment with another person.

Unfortunately since my return to school, Richard has had a heart attack while out in his boat alone. This scared him, like it would a lot of people and he has since sold his boat and lake property to someone else that will be able to enjoy it like he once did. I haven’t talked to Richard since his accident but if I did, I think I know just what he would say.

We all know life can be hard at times, but it can also be very enjoyable, so why not enjoy it with someone rather than complain to someone? After all, we could be gone tomorrow, nobody knows.