Wednesday, September 1, 2010

going on strike

I like finding new blogs to read (there's always room for one more, right?). A few months ago I came across one called My 30 Day Strike. I was intrigued. Give up something for 30 days and blog about it. Why didn't I think of that? I actually met the author in person at the blogging conference I went to in May. I sat next to her during dinner at Noodles & Co. She's nice. And so very petite. I felt like a giant, but that's nothing new.

Anyway, that blog got me thinking about what I would like to give up for 30 days.

Chocolate...not interested. Why would I ever do that? I don't drink, smoke or do drugs. Where else am I going to get my buzz at the end of a crazy day? Oh, yeah. Diet Dr. Pepper.
Yelling at my kids...never. What would be the fun in that?
Sugar...already did that. Still doing it (mostly...except for the 5 cinnamon gummy bears I ate today and the occasional chocolate that I'm not willing to give up)
Ironing...that's a strong possibility. I'm totally willing to give up ironing for 30 days.
Exercising...that one's a good contender too. I don't really want to gain back the poundage I've lost though so it's probably out.
Make-up...mostly already do that one too (except for Sundays and trips to Target)

After giving it much serious thought, I decided that I'd go on strike from complaining for 30 days. I do that pretty much every day and I'm really good at it. Complaining comes so easily to me. The words just flow effortlessly. It's something I can live without. It's something my family can live without. I figured it was worth a try.

I knew I had to start my strike on the first of a month. That's the best day to start new things. But the month that was coming up was July. The crappiest month of summer. Ug. How would I make it through July without complaining about the heat? The bright, bright sun that comes up way too early, shines way too hot and goes down way too late. Could I make it through July without mentioning how much I hate to sweat? How much I hate yard work? How I wish it would just rain?

I decided that I couldn't do it. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to pull it off. Why sabotage myself? So I waited.

Then August came and I didn't really even think about the whole 30 day strike thing. It's a good thing too. All that complaining I did about the sun, the heat, the weeds, and the lack of rain did so much to help me be happy. Right? Nope.

So here's September. I'm doing it. My 30 day strike against complaining started this morning. I'm going to say that I made it through one day without complaining. The only people I talked to all day were my sister, her kids, her neighbor, my kids, the lady who sold me a Diet Dr. Pepper at the drive thru window and the kid who sold me two ice cream cones at Arctic Circle. Oh, yeah, and Dan. But I only talked to him for a few seconds as he was leaving for work and then a little bit in the evening. He was at work late for back to school night. I'm pretty sure I didn't complain about anything.

I'm not sure what I'm counting as complaining. Mostly the negative talking that I'm so good at. Like when Danny asked for noodles, a popsicle and strawberries for lunch today and I said, "What do you think this is, a restaurant?" Does that count as complaining? I'm hoping it didn't since his response was, "Yeah, Mama! It is a restaurant!" and it made me laugh.

I'm a little worried that losing the complaining will make me into a big fat liar though.

What's going to happen if someone asks me how I'm liking my short hair? I'll have to just say, "Oh, it's just lovely." See? Lovely.

Or what about when someone asks me how I like being backyard neighbors with Sanford & Son?

"Oh, it's just lovely." See?


Or when Dan comes home from work and asks me, "How was your day? How were the kids?" and Danny woke up before the sun and didn't nap and neither did Cate and she was his extremely uncooperative wrestling partner way too many times?

I'll have to say, "Oh, it was lovely. Just lovely."

Is it the lesser of two evils? Give up complaining and take up lying? It's a chance I'm willing to take. Maybe when I say lovely to all that stuff I'll have to actually mean it. Yikes. I'm up for the challenge.

Maybe I'll mix it up and say swell sometimes. Or groovy. Awesome is always a good one. If nothing else, this little strike will give me a chance to learn lots of synonyms for lovely.

I'm feeling hopeful about this. Hoping that by getting rid of the complaining, I can be happier. Hoping that my kids can be nicer to each other. Hoping that our home is filled with more positive and less negative. Hoping that when the 30 days is over, I'll just keep on going. Hoping for a chance to find the good in things instead of the bad. Hoping to be more thankful and less critical. Hoping for a change.

When I started thinking about this strike in June, I came across these words of wisdom.

"I am asking that we stop seeking out the storms and problems of life, and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we concentrate on the positive. I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we halt the sounds of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort.

I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course of action.

What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that spreads through our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate,
that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults,
that optimism replace pessimism,
that our faith exceed our fears."

President Gordon B. Hinckley

One day down, 29 more to go (or more...hopefully).

Wish me luck. I'm gonna need it.

And please don't ask me about my hair.

Or the weather.

Or Dan's snoring.

Or the lack of naps around here.

Or puke, boogers and poop.

But mostly my hair.


Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

Love the idea. Ironing would top my list.

When my kids were quite young I realized every evening my husband and I would both talk about how crazy our days were as if it were something noteworthy. We finally made a truce and decided we would stop referring to each day as "crazy" or "hectic" or "enter any adjective that suits" and truly only complain about the EXTRAordinary times. It is a challenge still!!

Good luck with the next 29!!

Christie said...

I was all ready to say something sarcastic, but then I read the quote by GBH at the end and all I could think about was how much I miss him! That guy spoke my love language. EVERYTHING he said resonated with my soul. Seriously.

And, um, I would totally be complaining about Sanford and Son. I'd have a blog dedicated to mocking their sorry state. You are a better woman than I.

See, I had to get it in...

colds1 said...

Looking for the positive ... at least the new backyard neighbors won't try to bite the fingers off of your children!

Arlene (CO Kid) said...

You are my hero.

(I really like your shorter hair. Well, the ONE picture I saw with it down without your hands in it!)

Christina said...

Excited to see the new positive Cathy! I have my own days of negative, hopefully I can overcome them, too. I hope that when you're more thankful and less critical, you'll especially be that way towards yourself. I think you're way too hard on yourself. Seriously.

See you tonight.

Christina said...

Hopefully the sanford and sons thing isn't permanent, just part of the new tenants moving things in?

A. Muschette said...

I love this post, especially about the Sanford and son bacyard neighbors! As Christina stated, I hope they are parked there temporarily. I would have to agree, there are a few things I probably need to go on strike about, but I believe contentment would be #1 on my list.

Thanks so much, for visiting and following my blog!