Sometimes I just don’t feel like doing what I’ve set out to do. This time it was going swimming. It was 7 a.m. yesterday and I sat on the edge of the pool deck, complaining to myself about what the f*** I was doing here instead of in my nice warm bed. A woman who had been floating around (not swimming) in the lane next to me, asked if I could help her get up the pool stairs and out of the pool. “Sure!” I said, “I’m looking for an excuse not to get in. I just don’t want to be here this morning!”
She graciously looked at me and smiled. She told me that she needed help because she is weak from her chemotherapy. She’s at the end and sometimes just floating in the pool makes her feel so wonderful. She said when in the pool she feels free of pain and exhaustion. She told me how grateful she was for the opportunity to even be there – let alone get in the pool.
Yea, I felt like shit for complaining. And, as I swam my laps, I beat myself up. But eventually I realized that it’s natural for people to complain. Every day we’re faced with a lot of reasons to complain: too much work, not in a good situation, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, someone treats you badly, etc. To expect a life without complaining (by you or others) is unrealistic.
We complain about what someone is “doing” to us. But a simple change in perspective – looking at our thoughts, expectations and judgments, we may be able to see the situation in a different (better) light.
We often complain about what we don’t have or how we don’t measure up. This is also a waste of energy. Why don’t we compare ourselves with those who aren’t as fortunate as you. Let’s look around and see what we really do have. Think about how many people would love to be in our position.
This lead me to my final thought … on my final lap:
Be grateful for we have and for what others have. Is life a race to see who can collect the most stuff or do the most things? Sometimes its best to just mind our own business. To focus on what makes us happy and how we can add value to our life and the lives around us — for as long as we’re here.
As I got out of the pool, I felt thankful for that chance encounter. The brief conversation was a reminder that I’m lucky to be able to get up while my children are quietly sleeping, put on my swimsuit and slide into the pool for a peaceful workout. I hope she’ll be ok. I may still complain about the pool. But I’ll also always think of her at the same time.
Let’s feel grateful today.