Here's why: lately, loads of my pals on social networks have, almost exclusively, been venting about all things wrong with their lives, in ways big and small. 'That exam SUCKED,' or 'My kids are driving me up a wall!,' or, 'Hey, telemarketer, you're not scamming ME.' I'm not saying that these things shouldn't be expressed, because if I didn't have chance to decompress, I would probably explode. Because, seriously, that guy who cut me off on 695? TOTALLY in the wrong.
But the truth is, sustained venting actually makes you feel worse. Sure, you feel better if you turn to your spouse and say, "Christ alive, if my co-worker sends ONE more e-mail of cute and fuzzy animal pictures, I am going to lose it at the office." It's a mini-problem, you get some sympathy, and you move on.
It's the the stuff you complain about ad nauseum that makes you feel worse. Here's why: ultimately, you understand you're devoting a ton of talky time to a problem because you can't actually DO anything about the problem. Sadness follows because powerlessness sucks a nut.
SO! I have noticed the complainy trend in my own conversation topics of late, and to combat that, I have resolved to post my gratitude each day 'til my 36th birthday. This, I think, will help balance some of the wah-wah that's out there in the universe. I mean, I FEEL the gratitude, so why not share that instead of the annoying stuff?
Here's the framework: these are not going to be big picture things, like "I am grateful that I can breathe clean air," "I am grateful that I am employed," or "I am grateful that my husband loves me and is devoted to our children." All true, but doesn't that just make you want to vomit? The tide of bitterness that I'd like to combat is more about the little picture stuff. People should still seek comfort from others about the big stuff. It is 100% okay in my book for someone to express sadness that she has to put her deceased parent's estate up for auction, because. God damn, that person deserves to reap some sympathy.
Here we go:
#1: Fresh-baked rolls from the grocery store + thin sliced roast beef + horseradish sauce, AND fresh Utz potato chips. This is heaven on a lunch plate. It is astounding how a good sandwich can brighten my day.
There, see? Gratitude. And I will be serving up more tomorrow. (I was going to write, 'Unless I get hit by a car.' But then I realize that would put a damper on the gratitude. Did I tell you it is cripplingly difficult for me to express a true emotion without making a joke out of it? Yeah, I'm working on that.)