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Let us all whine down

August 6, 2011

It hit me like a roadside bomb.  I’ve become a world class whiner.
Sure, times are tough and appear to be getting tougher, but I’m contributing to the torture by constantly complaining and wringing my hands until they’re chapped and raw. 
It’s not just the economy and a government run amuck, it’s about everything i.e. the cost of groceries, the price of gasoline, the gray hairs taking over my head and the release of the new telephone book which is the size of Barbie’s day planner! 
Do you want me to go on? Because I could, and regularly do. Is it my imagination, or do people run and hide when they see me rounding the corner?
When was I crowned Miss Negative USA? I typically open my sparkling conversations with the words, “If you haven’t got anything good to say, come sit by me.”  
Enter a radical new concept which piqued my interest and changed my life.  It was introduced to me by an old college chum with whom I often commiserate by phone.  When I called her to complain about all the bloopers and blunders in my corner of the world, she cut me off with the explanation that she was on a 21-day whiner’s diet.
“What? Who was she, and what did they do with my friend,” I groused, as I deleted her number from my list of contacts.
Diet news is always welcome, but cutting back on whining could be lethal for someone who has built her headquarters on the snarky side of the street.
My friend explained that she is cutting back on complaining and gossiping, and wears a rubber band on her wrist. In a weak moment, when she involuntarily utters a negative, she must move the band to her other wrist and give it a good pop.  (Ouch.  I’d get blood blisters, followed by infection and my hand would probably fall off.)
When she’s caught in traffic, she maintains her cool by pretending the slow cars are merely the universe’s “pace cars,” meant to slow her down for safety reasons. When rude people honk, she pretends they are honking for happiness and she waves back cheerfully.
The goal is to go 21 days in a row without grumbling – supposedly the amount of time it takes to form a new habit. For the sake of “research” I decided to give it a try.
It’s day three, and I’m down to two dozen whines, primarily because I’ve been avoiding all social contact until the withdrawal stage is over. I’m seriously  trying to look at the positive side of every event. 
Well, almost. Today, I waltzed out into my garden to admire my herbs and peppers, and stepped right smack dab in a pile of doggy do. How can I spin that?  Well, I won’t have to wear the rubber band for the rest of the experiment since I have huge whelps on both wrists.

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.  She welcomes comments at http://www.deludeddiva.com.

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