Things happen in life.
We can deal with them in one of two ways:
1. We can complain. Or whine, or rant or vent, whatever we choose to call it. We gain momentary relief from this.
2. We clean up the mess, we realign our perspective of the situation or the person, and then we carry on.
Number 1 is easy. I know it’s easy for me. I catch myself doing it far too often. I’ve even sought out opportunities to talk about people and situations that irk me, while understanding that (a) that makes me feel worse and/because (b) I can’t change the person or thing I’m complaining about.
Two nights ago, we experimented with beef empanadas for dinner. They were okay but not great, and we had leftovers we had no interest in keeping. So we tossed a (foil wrapped, mind you) empanada in the top of an already full trash bag. I replaced the trash bag but decided to wait until the morning to take the full one down to the dumpster.
We have a beagle. Let’s call her Red (because that is her name).
If you have ever had a beagle, you see where this is going.
Red likes food. A lot.
Around midnight a terrible smell and bizarre clinking noises dragged me out of bed. I found the kitchen trash all over the house and Red in the middle of the mayhem licking her chops. She’d dragged the trash bag, which was four times her size and nearly twice her weight, down the hall toward the bedroom before having her midnight snack of empanada and anything else in that bag that was edible, leaving coffee grounds and watermelon rinds for me to wipe off the floor and walls. I’m assuming she wanted to be caught because if she’d left it in the kitchen I probably wouldn’t have smelled or heard.
As I mopped up the stinky mess and rebagged the trash I looked over at Red and decided I wasn’t very happy with her in that moment. I also decided there was no point in getting mad or complaining. To whom? The one other human and the two other canines in the house were asleep.
My last thought as I crawled back into bed, the trash bag outside on the porch with two locked doors between it and the beagle, was that at some point I would probably find all this funny.
I woke up the next morning and realized that it was hilarious. One more beagle war story. More importantly: it was my fault anyway. A beagle’s got to do what a beagle’s got to do, and Red isn’t our first beagle.
It comes down to this: You can complain but it won’t help. You can’t change another’s nature or actions.
Clean up the mess.
Reflect on the situation.
Change what needs to be changed.