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Good Moaning?

As the wind whistled around our bare knees this Sunday I found little reason to complain. After all, it had been purely my decision to suggest we go for a walk (a good decision) and to go in a T shirt in shorts on the basis there had been blue sky earlier in the day (not so good decision). I cannot help it if sometimes I get a little over enthusiastic. As my wife pointed out legs dry pretty well. The rain had started to come down at that point so this was a positive development.
You can’t really complain. Although a lot of people seem to have nothing but complaints at the moment.
Am I the only person who finds this incredibly wearisome when it is constant? (Rhetorical question, as I heard someone said as much at the weekend and I heartily agree.)
Being able to complain is a privilege, it is a release and something that makes us feel better. But like chocolate, too much just makes me feel a bit sick (I appreciate that some of my closest friends and family would disagree with the analogy, but I’m talking about myself here). Sometimes I feel I should stop moaning and start looking for the positives in things. Not always obvious and sometimes things are so honestly bad it might be impossible for you to see the silver lining, but so many times there is something delightful to be found in the mud. The more I look at things this way, the more I find to take pleasure in and to realise that actually it was good to miss that train, or to be ill on holiday or to be caught in the rain.
Take Sunday. We normally are pretty good at following walk instructions and don’t tend to get lost too much. But on Sunday we managed to go astray twice. The first time we ended up next to a pond, and as we tried to work out where we had gone wrong, a male Mandarin duck (one of our favourite birds) sailed gloriously into sight. A little later, we managed to find ourselves down the wrong path, together with a rather surprised dog fox. Two mistakes, two lovely wildlife moments that we would not have enjoyed if we had not gone wrong. In that context it really is hard to get upset as you retrace your steps.
Back in 2000, I spent some time in Japan and briefly travelled with an ex girlfriend (complicated). She wanted to climb Mount Fuji, although it was out of season (and therefore not really a good idea). But she would not be swayed, I wanted her back, and so we gave it a go. We got almost to the top but lack of preparedness both for the ice and snow and the altitude sickness meant we had to turn back. When we got to the back to the bus stop (halfway up the mountain) everyone had gone home and we were stranded with just a drinks machine for company. Cue a momentary panic.
Then I pulled myself together. I had a map (in Japanese) and it was clear there was a footpath down through the woods to the base of the base of the mountain where people actually lived. We took a risk on what looked like the path on the map and followed it down through the no night time woods. I’ve never been so glad to see a Torii (the gate to a Shinto shrine) as this was the one that marked the shrine at the base of the mountain. We quickly stumbled onto the Japanese equivalent of a Little Chef and with the help of the youngest member of staff (always the best bet for an English speaker) managed to get a taxi to our hotel, bed and a bath. The point of the story is how you look at it afterwards. What could have been a disaster becomes an exciting adventure. I learnt a lot about myself and what found I could be calm in adversity. I learnt that holiday as well that no matter how much you might be attracted to someone they may well be the worst possible thing for you to be with, but that is a lesson some of us have to learn too.
So I’m going to make a conscious effort to see the positives. But I do reserve the right to a little whine and a moan (do quote Lilly Allen) sometimes (I’m only human).

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