choosing to rejoice

rose, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses"

I loved this article about people who constantly complain while traveling. It reminded me of a recent train trip where we ended up being stranded on the tracks for an hour without power (read: no cafe service or A/C) while our crew helped another train that was having technical difficulties. In the end we 'donated' one of our engines to the other train, which then resulted in a further 30 min delay at Union Station while a replacement engine was coupled to our train.

Most of the passengers spent the delay time complaining loudly into their cellphones and calling Amtrak to demand a refund for their ticket price. I wasn't terribly pleased to be delayed, but I found it far less unpleasant than say, being gridlocked in LA traffic during the summer heat. I had plenty of reading material on hand and spent some time peeking over the seat at an adorable baby and her mother. Of course I've had my fair share of travel frustrations over the years. When the weariness hits, it's so difficult to continue to be nice. I get that.

But I have to say, that travel continues to amaze me. That I can fly, train, sail, or drive to so many amazing regions of the world. That I get to try new-to-me foods. That I get to people watch. That I get to smell and listen to and immerse myself in new places. It's really one of my very favorite pastimes. And I think (though feel free to correct me)...you'll hardly ever hear me complaining.


Chelsea said...

Traveling amazes me too! Reminds me of this great Louis CK bit, "Everything's amazing, and nobody's happy."

Maureen said...

I find that the more others complain in such situations, the more I try to look on the bright side. Maybe just to make the whiners look bad? :p

Karen Smulevitz said...

Remember the phrase "making a mountain out of a molehill"? When we put our energy into bemoaning the negative, it takes over our emotions. You did the right thing by accepting the delay as a gift so you could enjoy the experience.
The Buddha said, "What you focus on expands".

Erin G said...


Dawn Noel said...

It all depends on how you CHOOSE to look at it. I CHOOSE to be positive, since the other way is just too draining fo rme.

Janna said...

I live in Manhattan, and I have the theory that the reason we put up with and shut up about so much stuff in the city (i.e, poop on the streets, long lines, rotten food in the grocery stores, etc., etc., etc.) is that we each allot ourselves only one "complaint/reaction card" a day. If you complained or reacted to everything that was annoying here, that's all you would do all day! So, we carefully dole out when we say something about the craziness. Interestingly (despite an occasional emotionally "spicy" day, like today, actually), I rarely complain. So even though annoyances have grown exponentially since moving here, I rarely say anything about.

I save my energy for carrying my 12 packs of Diet Coke 5 blocks home from Duane Reade.