Each choice brings consequence, each decision has costs. Staying where we are means giving up something else, making a move means losing something. It is the capacity to focus on gains that lets us loose the reins of our lives and take the chance of making something better. We do not live in Iron Curtain Russia; no one stipulates that we must be a tailor in Reynoldsburg or a carpenter in Mountain View. We have choices: careers, homes, where we live, how we earn a living, with whom we cohabitate. We all have choices.
Among the most miserable choices we make is the one to stay where we are, keep doing what we’re doing, and gripe incessantly about it.
A bit of selective venting can be therapeutic, even liberating. The pressure is relieved and we go on to focus, once again, on what is good, what is rewarding, what is worthwhile. The keys are “bit” and “selective.” Indiscriminate, interminable complaining marks us rather quickly as… well, complainers. Even the seemingly sympathetic listener soon grows weary of our carping and griping, even the ones who join right in with us. Surely, even we grow tired of our own company.
Eventually, some good friend, some courageous relative, some particularly devoted companion, or just some colleague who frankly doesn’t give a flip about our reaction, confronts us with our own addiction to negativity. Or, they may simply surrender us to the void of our own darkness. Perhaps, in some cases, by some means and in some way, we hear the convicting voice of our Creator and must acknowledge the depth and degree of our pessimistic self-affliction. We concur with the little swamp possum, Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
No matter how talented the dung beetle, no matter how adept at shaping and rolling her little cargo along the path, she cannot escape this fact: she is a dung beetle and her life revolves around her personal little wad of crap. While she doesn’t appear to have a lot of choice in the matter, I don’t have that excuse.
It’s way past time for me to make a change, even if it’s about nothing other than my attitude.