Whinge – verb - Australian informal – to complain, whine, cry in a fretful way.
We’re barely four weeks into 2012, and the whinging is already in full swing. Any gratitude for the birth of Christ, the miracle of Hanukkah or the start of the NBA season seems like a distant memory as people have taken up their favorite past time of bitching about everything that’s wrong with their lives and the world around them.
The year may be new but the sea of steady complaints hasn’t changed – vacation went too fast, my relationship is off, work sucks, life is hard . . . cue soundtrack: wah, wa wah, wa wah. Well, stop your bellyaching — a bit of analysis of “the whinge” can put the proper prospective on everything.
1. The Whinge: “I Need A Vacation From My Vacation”
Whinging Dialogue: I was just starting to relax, and it was time to come home. Spending time with my family was no vacation. The weather was terrible. The hotel was a dump. Both kids were sick and I got no rest. I’m jet lagged. It sucks being back.
The Fantasy Solution: Forget about vacationing only twice a year. I’m going to buck the system, rewrite the rules. I’ll work 10 more years, call it quits and live a paired down life in Kuda Huraa (one of the 1,190 Maldivian islands) (See also ashram in India and gated community in Scottsdale).
Reality Check: Short of winning the lottery, the math doesn’t work with your current life style. Sucking on the tit of materialism and quitting your job to operate a beach bar in Maui are not compatible. If you keep lapping up iPad 2s, Audi A5s and 70-inch HDTVs at the same rate as the Dyson 41, your projected date of retirement will remain somewhere in your mid 80s.
Stop Whinging: The West Memphis Three spent 18 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Sure, they got “three square a day” and exercise in the yard, but it was hardly the St. Barth’s crowd at Christmas time so enjoy your freedom, your good fortune and your 2-3 weeks off a year.
2. The Whinge: “Work Sucks”
Whinging Dialogue: I don’t like what I’m doing day in and day out. The politics are a nightmare. I didn’t get the promotion I deserve. My boss is an asshole. Nobody appreciates what I contribute. I’m underpaid and overworked. I want to be creative. I want to be an entrepreneur. I’m not realizing my full potential.
The Fantasy Solution: I’m going to find my passion. I’ll just pursue what I love doing, and the universe will take care of the rest.
Reality Check: Passion sounds wonderful but so do gingerbread houses and gumdrop trees. There’s maybe .0001% of the population that’s found their passion and can actually make money at it. This group includes all those self-help gurus who manage to sell you books, DVDs and seminars about finding your passion. Immerse yourself in your passions wholeheartedly, but you’re probably still going to have to bring home the bacon to pay for it.
Stop Whinging: 50% of the world lives on $2 a day, so while you’re bitching about working on a weekend, there’s some bloke hiking 5 miles for a jug of clean water. Take a moment to acknowledge all the benefits and blessings of being gainfully employed and open up to the possibility of something more fulfilling.
3. The Whinge: “My Relationship Feels Off”
Whinging Dialogue: It’s too routine. Communication needs to be better. There’s no sense of adventure. I’m not fully heard, respected or understood. Sometimes we feel more like partners than lovers. I want more passion. I should be happier. My mate always/never wants to have sex.
Fantasy Solution: We’ll do couples therapy together. We’ll practice mutual respect, yoga and frolicking naked in the hot tubs at Esalen. We’ll renew our vows. We’ll recognize that we are each other’s soul mate. We’ll spend our days laughing, finishing each other’s thoughts and laying in bed for hours, intertwined as one.
Reality Check: There is no such thing as a “perfect relationship.” Having a functional relationship is tough enough and it takes a lot of hard work to have a healthy one. Anyone who tells you differently is either spinning their own relationship tale, working in online dating or watching “Notting Hill” for the 15th time.
Stop Whinging: Having a real partner to go through life is a true blessing, notwithstanding the inevitable ups and downs. It’s a great way to learn about ourselves, grow as individuals and realize our full potential. Also, I hear key parties are coming back.
4. The Whinge: “Life Is Hard”
Whinging Dialogue: Bills are piling up. Traffic sucks. People are rude. Corporations are crooks. The system is rigged. Gas prices are crazy. Food costs are nuts. I’m stressed. Can’t sleep. Can’t exercise. Can’t go out. Can’t get 5 minutes by myself. The world is moving too fast. Everything is clogged up. I’m going non-stop, 24-7. I’m wasting my time. Can’t get a break. My life is slipping away.
Fantasy Solution: I’m checking out of this rat race and going to live “off the grid." I’m quitting my job to become a yoga instructor. I’m moving to upstate New York to start an organic dairy farm. I’m getting the band back together.
Reality Check: Changes on the outside are largely superficial. No matter where you go, the constant is still “you” and it’s only through internal growth that you’ll truly be able to shift your life.
Stop Winging: You have your health and an abundance of food, clothing, and shelter (all the basics). Plus “Desperate Housewives” is mercifully coming to an end.
5. The Whinge: “The World Is A Mess"
Whinging Dialogue: Economies are collapsing. Nuclear reactors are leaking. Weapons of mass destruction are spreading. Governments don’t care about the people. We’re killing the environment.The terrorists are winning. All the politicians are ineffective, self-serving, power-mongers controlled by special interest PACs. Things are getting worse. The end is nigh. We’ll never get any more cool, sleekly designed products now that Steve Jobs is dead.
Fantasy Solution: The world is changing. People are starting to wake up and take back the power. The Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street are signs of a new era of global consciousness.
Reality Check: We’re not there yet. 29 million people watched the finals of "American Idol," and there were, like, 54 people in tents at the Occupy LA site.
Stop Whinging: 99% of your suffering is internal. If you can find a level of peace and happiness within yourself, then you can skillfully navigate all that comes at you in life. A basic meditation practice of 10 to 20 minutes a day can make all the difference. Also, it’s 2012 and according to the Mayan Calendar, the end of the world as we know it is about 11 months away. Buckle up and get ready, because your universe is about to get rocked.
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All of us can certainly find plenty of reasons to complain. Life is far from perfect – in fact, there’s lots of things that just plainly suck, no matter how you cut it. However, it’s doubtful that we’re here for mere pleasure alone. Perhaps we’re placed on this earth to experience what it’s like to live as a human being in a world of duality – where bad comes with good, sadness comes with joy, hate comes with love (disco comes with rock). It’s not what you get in life so much as how you deal with it (the whole box of chocolates thing and again, getting the right perspective, see above). So, show some gratitude for what’s right in your life, stop your fretting and get on with it – nobody likes a whinger.