Saturday, January 7, 2012

Stop Whining!

New Year's Eve -- a night to kick back and enjoy. Bring on the new and say farewell to the old. Celebrations can range from reading a book peacefully at home to tooting a party horn on a dance floor in Vegas. This year my husband and I chose dinner at a restaurant followed by a pay per view movie in the comfort of our living room -- quiet and relaxing.

Sounded great to me until we arrived at the restaurant. Naturally it was busy because of the festive holiday. I expected a wait even with reservations and there were all kinds of ways to keep busy -- munching on pretzels at the bar, gazing at the decorations, listening to the music and one of my all time favorites, people watching. Unfortunately, the woman who stood behind me didn't see it that way.

She felt the need to let everyone within earshot know that her feet hurt from standing so long. She was convinced a party who came in after her was seated before her. Not knowing what to do about this catastrophe, she decided to drone on about it. Then she went on about a rumor she heard that the food quality at this dining establishment had gone down hill. There's more, but I think you get the idea. I was so relieved when we were seated far away from this high pitched whine. I feared that my welcome into the new year might go like this (from The Whiners on Saturday Night Live):

Some people are trapped in a downward spiral of negativity. The complaining starts and doesn't stop. The good news is it only takes a moment to turn it around. Just Google: for great suggestions.

What works best for me?

Number one, taking a minute everyday to be thankful for the things I could take for granted. Things like health, a job, a home, food. It immediately puts me in a positive mood. When something minor happens, like waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store while the person in front of me searches for a credit card, it doesn't seem to matter. It's such a small inconvenience compared to real problems.

What really makes me kick back and be grateful however, is when I see someone who has a major issue and defies it. A person who has so many reasons to be downtrodden, but isn't. Stephen Hawking reminded me of this when I read an article about his 70th birthday celebration this past week. Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 21 and was given only a few years to live. So much for that prognosis. During the 49 years since then, Hawking has spent his life crippled in a wheelchair and able to speak only through a computer. Despite this, the theoretical physicist's quest for the secrets of the universe has made him one of the most famous scientists in the world. For anyone who doesn't know about Stephen Hawking, watch:

When asked about his disability, Hawking said, "The human race is so puny compared to the universe that being disabled is not of much cosmic significance."

That's what I call positive thinking.

Happy Birthday Stephen Hawking!

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  1. Love it. Usually I am annoyingly optimistic, but sometimes I need to be reminded. Completely apropos in juxtapostion with my posting today. Thanks for the jolt.

  2. Stephen Hawking is one of my heroes! I, too, read about his 70th birthday and saw that he has adapted to his disability by using special technology to help him communicate. Even with this technology, it can take him up to 10 minutes to compose a single sentence on a computer. I figured that if he can write two books (or more) and goodness knows how many speeches with such effort, I can sit down for at least an hour a day and write. He is truly an inspiration. Thanks for reminding me!

  3. I'm generally a glass full person too, but sometimes on a really bad day, I need to think about someone like Stephen Hawking to jolt me out of a funk.

  4. Great blog post! REgarding 'The Whiners' from SNL, it was always funny to me that the people in my office at that time who loved to talk and laugh about that sketch the most were the very ones it exemplified. Ah, Robert Burns, we need you!