In the recent weeks, I’ve been really caught up about complaining about Phoenix. It is turning hot here, the high yesterday almost 97 degrees and I am reminded about how it gets too hot too fast in this city. It isn’t even summer yet and the air conditioning is turned on in our house. There are other things that aren’t appealing about the desert, like javelinas (wild pigs) walking down our street at 10:00 p.m. and the sidewinder snake in my neighbor’s bushes. Yesterday I walked out in the middle of the afternoon and my street looked like a ghost town, people beginning their hibernation plans early this year.
I tell my husband, “It is already hot in this stupid town.” My daughter in the background saying, “Momma, stupid is a bad word.” I tell her I am sorry and say that I don’t mean it and won’t say it again. Secretly, I know I will be saying it again. The complaint about the weather turns into how I don’t feel settled here and haven’t made very many friends. The slippery slope of grievances begin, finding fault with everything from the weather, the cuisine available and the people I have met so far. My facial expressions change with each complaint, the wrinkles forming around the corners of my mouth and the sense of self-imposed doom overwhelms me.
I can choose to wallow in this state, but I take a moment to think about where I am and I reflect. I don’t have anything tangible to complain about. Nothing really. Honest. But I wonder why when one thing doesn’t go our way, we are quick to indict our surroundings, other people, and our whole life. A bad morning drive, lack of sleep, or struggling with the morning routine with our children can set the pace for the entire day. The remainder of the day can proceed without any worries, but still, that one complaint will linger and follow you like a shadow.
We have all been around complainers. Everything that comes out of their mouth is a complaint. The food is too cold, the weather is too hot, and the person on the street smiled wrong. You all know the kind of person I am talking about. I’ve complained about these complainers. Funny, huh? I think we all our teetering on this invisible edge, moving with each complaint, toward the chronic complainer side.
It’s a clear conscience choice. I am going to start right now. Phoenix is a clean city, the freeways are great, and the people, well strangers ask you how you are doing. This morning I went for a run and I didn’t have to worry about it raining. I can look at the mountains while I write. In fact, in twenty minutes I can even go hike a mountain. And just yesterday I discovered a great Mexican restaurant and had a coffee date with a new friend that I met in Phoenix.
It is always almost about perspective. I promise.
How do you deal with complaints? How do you focus your energy in a more positive direction? We could all use the help. Please share your thoughts.