Do you want a little cheese with that whine?
I’ve spent the past school year writing every two weeks about what annoys me. But this is my last column for the New School Free Press before I graduate; I want to make it count. It’s been a pleasure to air my grievances about simple, small-scale nuisances, but I’m going to go ahead and use this valedictory column to say that I really don’t have much to complain about.
Sure, snobs are annoying. And yes, homework sucks. Waking up early is the worst, blah blah blah. But nothing's really bad. I’m healthy, I’m surrounded by people who care about me and I face innumerable opportunities every day.
So at the risk of sounding preachy, I’m going to suggest that we focus on the positive every once in a while and stop complaining about the minutia of everyday life. I mean, don’t take shit lying down or anything. If stuff is bothering you, speak up, argue, protest—whatever you need to do. But there’s an important distinction to be made between critical evaluation of the world around you and simple, mindless whining.
Yes, it’s raining. And my senior work is due. Tourists should be restricted to their own lane on the sidewalk, the elevators are crowded and the cashier is rude. All this is true. I’ve found, though, that if I let stuff like this get to me, I become pessimistic, jaded and just as annoying to be around as any of the stupid things that piss me off.
It’s hard to always be kind, positive, and open, but I’ve found that a little effort goes a long way. I recently bought lunch for a friend. I helped someone else when she was stuck on a paper, and the other night a girl was walking in front of me in the subway station and her backpack was open. I told her and closed it before her stuff got rained on. You know what? These things made me feel great. Simple, easy, and nice.
I know there’s a lot of pressure in life that can make everything seem doomed. The job market, escalating rents, commutes, bad hair days. But if we can all take it with a grain of salt and remember that too much complaining makes us sound like miserable petulant children we’ll all be better off, more successful, and far more pleasant to be around.