Mar 16…Have you ever experienced a head game at 4:45am? I have. It starts when the alarm goes off so you’ll wake up and workout, and it ends at 5:30am when you’ve pushed your limits on the time and you know that your day will be better if you do it but you have zero desire whatsoever. By some sheer force and sulking about how I’d feel if I didn’t do it – I got up and hit the gym. I’ve decided that my head isn’t in a place to do it everyday like I did in January, and most days I have evening workout plans, but if I can at least do early mornings on Monday then I’m bound to start the week off on the right foot. By 5pm I was leaving work feeling caught up enough to have an evening open. I felt free. How could I complain?
Mar 17…And Tuesdays are another culprit of my complaints. Mornings after bad meals and Tuesdays in general. This is a direct result of my Tuesday schedule. I didn’t complain, but here’s what the day looked like….I had a 10:00, 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 meeting and I was still in limbo on going to Zumba. “In limbo” is code for ‘I knew I wasn’t going to have the energy for it but leaving myself some room in case a good hip hop song came on during my drive home and there was still time to make it.’ My energy was zapped from the day but I felt like I accomplished a lot. By 8pm it was very hard to just state facts about the day and not weave in my personal feelings and complaints about details that didn’t really matter. I started mentally finding small things that were on my nerves and then kept asking myself why that was happening. I’ve started asking myself “will this matter in a week?” before I complain about something. 99% of the time the answer is ‘no’ so I just don’t complain and realize by next Tuesday it will have been forgotten. I was moody by 9pm and did what all women should do at that point….which is go to bed with Pinterest on your iPad and dream of home decor and healthy recipes. I also made the firm decision that I would not be wearing the pants I wore on this day again until I lost 5-8lbs. Much of my day was internal complaints about my pants being too tight. I also found my 3rd gray hair since ditching blonde highlights.
Mar 18…After 18 days of not complaining, I’ve noticed that almost every day this month I’ve driven home in silence – no radio, little to no phone calls. It wasn’t a conscious choice, but after the first week I noticed I was using my drive home to contemplate how I felt and occasionally brainstorming my blog posts or life in general. On any typical pre-March/not complaining day I spend between 45-60 minutes getting to work. Traffic is normally so slow that I am texting or reading work emails (not proud, just keeping it real). After work (depending upon if I’ve detoured to the gym, etc) I’m spending approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes in my car on the drive home. So on any given day I’m spending roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes in my car (other than the day there was a crazy blizzard and it took me 2 hours to get to work and 6 hours to get home – but that probably does not fall into my not complaining goal and would require a blog post all of it’s own). When we first got married and got into our life routine, I remember telling people that cell phones are great because you can make family calls while driving so when you’re home you can spend time doing other things – which I still totally agree with. BUT, I am a speed dialer! This is what I do (but I’m guessing many can relate): When I drive home from work/gym I start down my list. I call one parent, then the other parent, one grandma, then the other grandma, sometimes I jump straight to a co-worker if there’s some really juicy work chat, and sometimes another coworker who knows just enough about my department to understand the stories but not enough to care beyond necessity. Oftentimes, I call parent #1 and they don’t pick up, so I call parent #2 and while chatting parent #1 calls me back. So I call back parent #1 and chat for a minute. Then I call grandma #1 who doesn’t pick up. So I call grandma #2 to be interrupted by grandma #1 texting me about missing the call (my Grandma isn’t that old and yes she texts me). And so on…. SO, what I’ve noticed is – sometimes I’m just calling to complain. Well, not calling to complain but it’s kind of the default “yeah, it was a long day” type of conversation. I’m calling to just fill the silence. I LOVE talking to all of these people I speed dial and I love talking to them often, but I realized a few things:
1. Maybe just call them 3 or 4 days a week instead of 5 just to give myself some time alone with my thoughts (“alone time with my thoughts” sounds so cheesy and I can’t think of a better way to phrase it). I think we all love alone time and all claim we never get it. I get 2 hours and 15 minutes of it a day just chillin’ in my car, but I become so busy with the calls and the call backs and the texting back (not to mention the distracted driving) that I’m wasting time that I could just be. Just be and think. I can walk in the door and not feel flustered after 6 hours of meetings and 4 phone calls and a text string with someone that won’t end. Have you ever called someone maybe top of the list and then by the time you make it to person number #3 or #4 person #1 calls you back and you’re almost annoyed cause it’s like “ugh, I was just calling you because I was in the car, it’s too late now.” Why are we dumb like this?
2. “The answers are in the silence.” That’s a quote a yoga instructor of mine posted (I’m not typically a quote person) and it’s so true. They (the infamous “they”) say you have your best ideas on vacation. I believe it. I’ve created a long list of imaginary companies I’ll never start, but the ideas came to me on beach vacations while I watch Chris dive into the water to find shells and other people’s lost treasures. This idea is further supported by times when Chris and I walk around the block in our neighborhood without our cell phones. We typically don’t make it past the first stop sign before he is telling me something he remembered from the day, or needs to remember to do, etc. 5 minutes away from the noise (i.e. phone) and your brain has this sense of freedom. And that freedom leads to not complaining. And imaginary companies that someone else will start and you’ll claim you had that idea once.
3. The day would feel less busy -> stressful -> enticing to complain about if we stopped creating “busy” for ourselves when it’s unnecessary. Just drive home. Just be.
Disclaimer: Call your parents, grandparents, and friends still…..this is just my recommendation for 1 or 2 days a week. Family is always #1. Also, I’m not considering times when it’s a productivity play and you can kill two birds with one stone by driving home and doing a conference call for work.