On Being Content

Last night, I was talking to my mom on the phone. She mentioned one of my sisters, who is now at week 36 of her pregnancy, and apparently is carrying very awkwardly (“toothpick with a beach ball” was the description). My mom said, “You know her, though. She doesn’t really complain.”

This sister (I have 3) and I have lives that are wildly different. She works in my dad’s office (patients adore her), lives in a pretty, immaculate, modest house, and has (almost) 2 kids. She seems content. I, on the other hand, am the IT Director of a law firm, have an MBA, can’t imagine having kids, and have a larger townhouse that looks like it’s been hit by a tornado even AFTER the cleaning people visit. I am so driven I drive myself nuts.

I wouldn’t want to give up my profession, and can’t imagine having the sudden desire to either spawn or pick up all the books and papers around my desk, but this sister is the one of whom I am most envious. Why?

She seems content.

I’ve always wondered how she did it–until this morning. It was what my mom said last night: “You know her, though. She doesn’t really complain.”

I’ve been wondering why I seem so miserable sometimes, and I think this might be the key. During those times, I’m complaining too much. I’m thinking about problems, but not solutions.

I believe geeks often do the same thing. In my career with geeks, I’ve heard more complaints than praises, and more discussion of problems than solutions. Especially if things haven’t been going well with technology or projects, geeks seem to complain a lot.

There’s a time and place for venting, granted. As with everything else, it’s a balancing act. However, for me, I’m going to try substituting positive comments for complaints and talking about solutions for talking about problems. Maybe, by doing so, I can, like my sister, seem content.