I scrolled through social media last night to understand the news of the day which had occurred while I attended court appearances and met with clients. I tried to ignore the photos of the outcome of the Olympic games which I intended to watch all evening. Photos of the Republican presidential candidate got a similar miss. I hopped from Twitter feed to Facebook timeline, to e-mails from the news sources on which I rely to keep me up-to-date. Meanwhile the dog paced through the room, the television played, and my stomach rumbled.
In the same way that one sees chocolate everywhere when dieting, I started to notice that about half of what I saw on the internet constituted complaint. Maybe more. I thought about my day. A judge scolded a lawyer for not having his client, then snapped at the client when he arrived fifteen minutes late. On the radio, angry members of each major political party took those in the other to task. The prospective client sitting in front of me for two hours criticized her prior attorney, the other party, the guardian ad litem. Rightly or wrongly, valid or false, the complaints nonetheless bombarded me from every direction.
By the end of the day, I longed for a prism like that held by the Romper Room lady. With my Magic Mirror, I would peer through the monitor, into the eyes of people across the table, behind scowls and frowns. My super power would be revealing to everyone what life without complaining could be like for them by sharing what life without complaining is like for me on days when I get it right.
I recently told someone whose behavior conflicted with my desire that I thought their choice nonetheless had been right for them. I got a tight-lipped, brow-drawn, fierce-eyed response of, That’s a very odd thing for you to say. I did not reply for a few minutes, lost in wonderment, thinking, How could I have more effectively communicated my stance borne of empathy?
This path to joy sometimes challenges me the most because others regard me as insincere or smug. I am neither. I am merely one woman, trying to make life better for myself, one complaint-free day at a time. If the lives of people with whom I interact also improve, I consider that a bonus.
It’s the tenth day of the thirty-second month of My [Never-Ending] Year Without Complaining. Life continues.