A note from Abby: Another exciting guest post from one of my best friends, Lexy! She is previously known on here for her hilarious dating post about horse girls and is back again to grace us with her presence! Make her feel welcome and be sure to tell her how much you like her in the comments below! Onto the post grad struggle!
I am the kind of guest you never want in your home. For starters, I am raucously loud. I have a distinct laugh that can be heard for a 10-mile radius. Everything about me is big and dramatic and overdone like a New Jersey boardwalk caricature. I’m from the suburbs of Philadelphia, so I say “fuck” almost as much as some other more genteel people say “please” or “thank you.” Which isn’t to say that I lack manners, that’s not it at all. But I do have a crippling flaw that I’ve recently come to grips with: I am a chronic complainer. Maybe in a relatable way. Definitely in a funny way. But I absolutely complain. All the time. Complaining gives me life. It is like I am verbally transferring the weight of my struggles to you, and you, and you. When we all share a slice of my struggle pie, I don’t feel obligated to eat the whole thing myself and then wallow in my shame.
You see, I feel this intrinsic need to complain. I feel that I must.
“Because,” I think to myself, “if I bottle all of this up, I am going to pop.”
The last time I guest-wrote (because Abby still graciously accepts me into her life, blog, and home), I complained. I complained to you guys about how lame being single is, and how lame dating apps are. I complained about how lame the last girl I dated was for breaking my heart.
Here we are, several months and a brand new year later, and the landscape of my life has changed slightly. I met a girl on that dating app I was complaining about, and we’ve been dating now for several months. I complain to her all the time, and like a fucking saint she listens to me and says sweet things like “I know” or “I understand.” She listens to me complain about my two jobs when she also works two jobs, and she listens to me complain about how I want an apartment together. She will read that I wrote this long complaint about complaining and offer nothing short of encouragement.
And you know what?
She never fucking complains. I have never seen someone work with such steadfast, quiet resolve. She buckles down and gets stuff done. While I’m winding up a good whine, she’s thinking about everything she’s gotta get done between tonight and tomorrow.
Here’s the thing I realized: it’s one thing to blow off some steam. It’s a totally different thing to let all of the water vapor evaporate, because that steam is the energy to power your engine.
As newly-minted adults, we’ve got a lot of shit to complain about: we’ve got jobs where we get treated like shit, or sometimes even actually have to clean up literal shit. We don’t make nearly as much as we expected to, or feel that we’re owed (especially when you have to clean up literal shit). Not to mention the seemingly insurmountable precipice of student loan debt threatening to avalanche in deferment and crush us at any moment we stop our frenetic work pace.
But take a hard look for a second: what’s your conversion ratio of complaint-to-action? Do you ever act on the things you complain about? Do you know who is at the source of your unhappiness? Who is actually in control of the how you look at the events in your life?
I’m not saying I meditated on a rooftop and emerged refreshed and swore off complaining and carbs and butter and instead plan to wish everyone “love and light” and eat a “raw” diet. That doesn’t work for me, and I’d complain about it. Instead, I want to try to complain less and do more. Make myself mindful of my complaints and then take whatever opportunity comes my way to turn things around, and in doing so, take action on the things I complain about.
So often, I paralyze myself in scenarios that are ultimately changeable. “I hate getting up for work, I hate going to work, I hate my job.” If that’s your internal mantra, listen to the complaint and then act on it. This job is not for you, and that’s okay. I’m not saying give up a reasonable, well-paying 9-5 to become a subway musician (or do it, I won’t stop you, you’re an adult), but try looking for a different job that allows you more flexible hours. Be willing to compromise with yourself, work harder to accommodate yourself, or accept the things you cannot change. Don’t sell yourself a hard life, because life is more than willing to throw lemons at you ALL. DAY. LONG.
It’s so easy to get caught up in a cycle of complaining. I would know; I literally wrote almost two pages about it. But this year, I plan to make it a year of action. I hope you choose to, too. A year of deliberate thought and purposeful verbiage, as opposed to a year of unleashing your verbal garbage upon the nearest person in some kind of drive-by-word-dumping. It’s okay to blow off steam, but save some to power your engine on to bigger and better things.
Lexy works hard so you don’t have to. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her Honda Civic, Hazel Grace.