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The first two days of May are seared into my brain. (No pun intended!) If you just checked your calendar, you may think it was an ordinary Monday and Tuesday. Not so fast…the weather was anything but ordinary. The temperatures reached a record high for the month. It was hot.

My then seven-month old grandson, Luca, was visiting from California and his parents put me in charge for the day. I decided to take Luca for a long walk to show him my happy places. The weather was delightful — and more so, were the coos and giggles emanating from the baby carriage. (Luca loves the outdoors!)

While on my three-mile trek, I encountered many folks who were walking, working in their yards or porch sitting. Whatever they were doing, one thing was for certain, these folks were enjoying the sensational weather. That is, until, I overheard a gentleman who thought otherwise. He complained that It was too hot! I stopped dead in my tracks. Did I hear right? I wore a winter coat through most of April.

Why do we humans love to complain?

We complain about cold winters and its counterpart hot summers. We complain about September when we are inundated with tourists (OK, I complain about that too!) We judge ourselves to be too fat, not smart enough, can’t do this or that—because of this or that!

We blame others for our shortcomings and our parents for our fat genes. Others are smarter, sharper, richer than us. We complain about our spouses or significant other. Our kids are driving us to distraction. The world is a mess—and I agree, but the beat goes on!

Complaining keeps some folks from acting. It gives one an excuse to procrastinate, consequently, it keeps them from achieving any goal. The “I don’t get any brakes in life” folks reinforce their negative world-view. The more one summons energies in a negative way, the more we attract the very thing we complain about!

Another reason folks complain is to avoid responsibility, either consciously or unconsciously. They may stay in a dead-end job, complain about the boss, working conditions, their salary and how the toilet flushes—and they are still complaining ten years later.

Some folks get their kicks from complaining and whining. I remember a co-worker who was employed with me at the medical center in Staten Island. She had a less than nice husband, so she said. She complained to me ad nauseum: He didn’t come home at times, drank too much and had a wandering eye.

I listened politely, at first. Then, I started to dread our lunch hour. I suggested therapy. She said, her husband would never go for it. I advised her to go alone. She implied that it wouldn’t do much good. In sheer desperation, I asked why she stayed with him. She looked at me like I had three heads and said: “I could never leave him, I love him.” I changed my lunch hour.

I know folks who are perpetual traffic complainers. C’mon, if you are on the Long Island Expressway during rush hour — you will have traffic. Listen to an audiobook to pass the time.

Then there are the “holier than thou complainers “with their blanket statements:
“Those” people should be… (fill in the blank.)
Women are the worst… (fill in the blank)
Don’t listen to him, he’s an idiot… and so on.

From my vantage point, these holier than thou folks are probably insecure and put down others to build up their fragmented egos.

We all have family complainers aka “dumpers.” They will call and criticize another family member. However, suggestions of talking directly with said family member falls on deaf ears — but, they hold you to secrecy.They dump all that toxic stuff and like a sponge the dumpee absorbs it. A word of caution: sponges leak.

Research has found that folks who complain and whine on a constant basis are inclined to be unhappy, have poor relationships and don’t feel fulfilled. Some studies have shown that complaining can severely damage your health.

When I read that we humans complain nearly 15-30 times a day, I was shocked. Moi? Never! Until, I decided to be conscious of what I was saying to myself and sometimes to others.

Whoa! Enlightening.

I don’t think folks realize how much they complain because it’s habitual. And if you have a sap who will listen to your complaints, all the better. Then you can both get sucked down in the dark rabbit hole of never finding a solution.

Really, folks, my feeling is that some people enjoy complaining almost as much as doing nothing about it.

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.