Complaining is a snap! If America were to hold a Complaining Olympics, I’m certain I’d have a shot at gold for most of the indoor events. Complaining is natural and highly contagious, like Ebola, or some of those sniffles the birdies and piggies are trying to give us. So, what do we do about it? Do we keep complaining, or do we start to call out life’s joys as a bit of neuro-linguistic programming to change our wicked ways? Let’s try that. Let’s start celebrating tiny little things that matter to us. I’ll go first. Then when you finish reading, sit down with a pen and paper and write down a few of your own joys.
There’s a wonderful man on the Covington Square — James Hamm — who makes the most delicious chocolate cakes I’ve ever tasted. His creations rank right next to my aunt’s that she made with pink and white alternating layers. Just thinking about his cakes can stop 65 percent of a headache. Eating one of his cakes will stop the remaining 35 percent. And while we’re on the Square, there’s an ice cream shop that has these amazing sprinkle cones. No matter what flavor I get in one of those cones, it’s always delicious. And down the street is a coffee shop with a fancy espresso machine and a grinder full of dark-roast coffee. I can’t make espressos as rich as theirs, but I can dream. There’s a sandwich shop that has a special bread my wife likes. And then there’s a music shop where I found the guitar strap I use all the time. And there’s an antique store chock full of tea cups, and a watch repair shop that makes faces with tired hands work again. And of course, there’s so much more in life to admire, and we haven’t even left the Square. All these things are tiny in some respects: cakes, cones, coffees — but they are great antidotes to the act of complaining.
Just focusing on a few of life’s simpler joys can derail the negativity we normally invite into our minds. The brain is easily distracted; if you think positive thoughts, it assumes everything is peachy keen, starts humming show tunes, and leaves you alone for a bit. And being left alone — unmolested by your gray matter — is a tiny thing most worthy of celebration!
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.