As I started writing today, I Googled ‘Why do people complain’ and came across some interesting reads. Here’s one that caught my attention; the author lists out several reasons for complaining, some of which I completely agree with.
Last year, when we were all going through a global lockdown, some of my college friends decided to do a Zoom reunion, as that was what everyone was doing. Some of these girls I had been in constant touch with, some messaged occasionally, and others I had not seen since 2005 or so. We had to accommodate three time zones and after a lot of discussions, the date and time were finalized. I was super thrilled and was eagerly looking forward to the call, and finally, we were online.
After the initial courtesies, the conversation quickly went from being a happy reunion to a compilation of complaints. We had all been sitting at home, not being able to meet our family and friends, no gatherings, and for some, no stepping into grocery stores too. Due to covid, many of my friends had to stop their maids, cooks, nannies, etc. and those who were working from home full time were finding it extremely difficult to cope with all the work, kids(s), chores, etc. As these laments continued, Ms. G & I connected, telepathically and texted each other at almost the same time saying, “OMG, What the hell are these girls complaining so much about?”
I am not saying that my friends were wrong to complain;I complain too. I totally understand that everyone has their own priorities, work schedules, kids, etc. and that having a maid/cook is now a norm in most households. But since we don’t have that luxury here, we didn’t really miss anything during the pandemic. I guess we were simbly jealous!!! How we would love to have someone help out at least once a week (especially to fold Ms. G’s laundry loads).
We had a second group call a few months later and towards the end, a couple of friends started complaining again about not having house help, I snapped at them. I told them to thank their lucky stars for at least having someone called a house help; their absence was temporary. I told them how all the years that we’ve been here, we have donned different hats — we cook, we mop, we clean the bathrooms, do the laundry…and don’t really complain. And lucky are the few of us whose husbands lend a helping hand in the chores… otherwise, we should be the ones doing all the complaining. I think the girls understood my frustration, because they haven’t complained about such things to me at least…
Again, I understand where they were coming from but from an expat’s standpoint, we all were unhappy about the situation, and honestly speaking, some of us took it much better than others. Being so far away from our parents, we were worried about their well being, our own health, and the overall uncertainty of the whole pandemic and after some initial setbacks, many of us managed to come up with new activities to do, set up new routines to follow, etc. mainly to avoid spiralling into the dreaded abyss of frustration and depression.
What is all this leading up to? The fact is that we all complain so much about everything, and I don’t know if it’s me, but I’ve noticed that the tendency to complain increases with age. Also, some things that are serious for us may sound trivial to others and vice versa too, making conversations all the more problematic.
My question today is, why complain at all?
I complain too, even today, but I truly believe that I have curtailed the urge to complain. How? Thanks to my increasing wisdom (yes, I believe it increases with age), I have understood that complaining about everyday things doesn’t make anything better. It only leads to anxiety and a severe headache. Think about it… simply sitting and cribbing about how life sucks doesn’t really give anybody anything, so, instead of complaining, why don’t we all try to divert our thoughts to something constructive and positive? Take a few minutes to ponder over your thoughts, and if you’re like me you’ll realize that the issue is actually lame and that both you and the listener have better things to do than dwell on trivialities.
The grass may always seem greener on someone else’s lawn, but I believe in working on the brown patches on mine to make them greener than complaining about how all other lawns are so green! “And on that note, it’s probably best that I quit complaining about the things other people should stop complaining about.” (16 Things People Complain About Way Too Often).
Until I write again, I’ll try not to complain and hope that you will too. Stay healthy, happy, and safe!