On December 31st, 2013, I stood on a threshold to what I thought would be the grandest dawn imaginable. I had taken a secret vow to learn to live complaint-free and to blog each day about my efforts to change. I started “My Year Without Complaining” having told only one person of my intention, a friend named Iris.
Thirty months later, the longest year trudges forward still. I often feel no closer to the state which I dreamed of attaining. I wanted to be joyful and radiate joy. Something my son said to me stuck in my craw: Well, there you go, spreading unbridled happiness again. Except his voice held that slight tone of contempt which we shudder to hear from our children. This mild condemnation had been levied in a restaurant some months before I launched this blog. It still echoes in my mind. I had actually apologized to the waitress. I’m a difficult customer but a great tipper, I told her, laughing to cover my son’s embarrassment.
I’m still a 20% tipper but I’ve improved in my treatment of wait staff 1000%.
Tonight I will face another dawn: That of the first day of the thirty-first month of My Year Without Complaining. I wait for midnight. I pray for my life to continue. I beg the universe; I bargain with the whimsical force whose hand hovers over the tiller.
Let me stay alive, so that I might attain my goal. Let me survive each night, so that I can at last live each day in peacefulness and joy.
When I have ceased to break my wings
Against the faultiness of things,
And learned that compromises wait
Behind each hardly opened gate,
When I have looked Life in the eyes,
Grown calm and very coldly wise,
Life will have given me the Truth,
And taken in exchange–my youth.