About complaining

November 10, 2014

th-1There’s a stereotype of older people in which they’re querulously complaining about everything: their health, the neighbor kids, noisy gardeners, bad drivers–you name it.  And while some of us are like that, for the most part the Baby Boomer generation is more tolerant, I think, than our parents’ generation. Or so it seems. In general.

I say “seems” because I know many Boomers who write or blog, and I can’t help but notice that some of them use a whole lot of bandwidth to….complain.

That’s right. They complain. Just like our parents.

Not all of them–but some.

Our generation seems to complain almost as much as our parents did.

We complain about getting older.

We complain about the ravages of age on our skin and on our bodies.

We complain about our aches, our pains and our chronic illnesses.

Hell, we even complain about menopause.

We complain. And many of these complaints are about things we can’t do a thing about. They are a normal part of getting older.

And so I’m wondering–is this also just part of aging, this need to complain?

Just like my cohorts, I’m aging and I feel the effects just like they do.

But–what exactly can I do about aging?  Nothing. Nothing but complain.  And frankly, I don’t want to complain about it. I don’t want to waste one moment giving energy to the negatives in my life.

I embrace my age.  Sure, I’d love to be a hot, young thing again, but those days have passed. I’d love to not worry every time I go to the doctor–but the fact is more of my life is behind me than lies ahead and one day I might not like what I hear from her.

I’d like to be forever young. But that’s not possible. Not yet, anyway.

Instead, I’ve gained wisdom with age (and with pounds). Clarity.  Perspective. Even skills.

Just like my cohorts, I have aches and pains and ailments I must deal with.  But when these come up?

I think of my friends who are battling for their lives and I think about my own small problem, “it’s not cancer.”  And then I don’t complain.

I am not going to chemotherapy five days a week and I hope I never do. If you do? You have a right to complain and I”ll hold your hand while you do.

But the thing is, most people who are undergoing treatment don’t complain. They don’t give voice to the negative. They are too busy fighting for their lives. And they know not to let the negative take root. Positive thinking can change the course of their lives and they get that. I do, too.

So complaining about wrinkles, stretch marks and being in my 60s? I can’t do it.  Because all those faces of my courageous friends come to mind. And I feel kind of silly.

 I’ve lost patience with reading complaints, whether about aging or something else. They make me think that my friends are just as old and peevish as my parents’ generation.

And that makes me feel old.

You know what makes me feel even older?

This blog post in which I am…complaining.


26 comments on “About complaining
  1. At least my dementia is helping me forget what I should complain about.

  2. carol graham says:

    My favorite part of the whole post was your last point. Well done!

  3. ryder ziebarth says:

    Yes, I am still complaining, and also learning to be accepting by sharing my complaints ( read: FEAR from others with similar worries( your rant just helped me let go of what is no longer, to accept what is and know I am in GOOD company.) My mother would complain about watery Tetrezini at this age; my 60 year old pals complain about pelvic prolapse, thinning hair and pain on intercourse. Who knew, if not my whiny friends? I am grateful they share.

  4. Donna says:

    Great reminder!! I try hard not to complain, but I know I do. No one likes to hear it, unless you get with a group of people all complaining about the same kind of things and then when you leave that conversation you just feel….worse.
    Good reminder!!!

  5. Laura says:

    I just love this. I love this reminder. I’m putting a note over my computer screen that says: “Stop complaining.”

  6. I try not to complain because it’s useless and a waste of time. Instead I try to make change so that I have nothing to complain again. Does that always work? No. But I’m dancing as fast as I can!

  7. It helps to have one or two things that really annoy you and let everything else go. I will never love parents who let writhing, shrieking toddlers burn out in upscale, pricey restaurants, for example. But bad drivers and show-off cell phone users and smokers near the entrance, I just keep moving.

    But the restaurant thing. Grrr.

  8. There are to many bad things out there that could be happening that isn’t, that’s what we need to concentrate on! I’ve been feeling especially blessed lately so kick me in the shins if you here me complaining!

  9. Jackie says:

    I would agree that complaining doesn’t solve anything. It’s also helpful and healthy to put it in perspective, especially when you think about what others are going through. Still, I like a good “kvetch” now and again 🙂

  10. Well I get it. And I agree. And I also disagree. And I have written pieces of what you write about here too. Sometimes though we need to vent, and it is in the venting that we find our way back to center. That being said I abhor sniveling, people who never move from complaining to action. If something bugs you then switch stuff up. As always I love your perspective.

  11. Roz Warren says:

    My father, a terrific psychoanalyst often said “Never take away anyone’s right to complain.” I took this to mean that kvetching was a healthy way to let off steam. I love to complain, hopefully in a funny way. And I love listening to friends and co-workers grouse. It’s entertaining. And it helps relieve stress and keep us all sane.

  12. Ruth Curran says:

    I do agree with the principle, see your point of view, and understand the intent. I just have a hard time drawing that line between what is OK to complain (or actively process and vent like your chemotherapy example) about and what is not. Not so much on a personal level – I don’t think I should ever complain about anything in my life – I am so filled with abundance that it is mind boggling. The world though is littered with poisonous people and injustice and is there really a difference between speaking out and complaining, and if there is, who is the judge of that? I know you were talking about aging and this is on different scale but, as usual, you set me thinking deeper and exploring more.

  13. Karen says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Carol. I do allow myself one small area of complaint, and that is about the weather. But that’s kind of the Canadian national pastime, so I think it’s okay. And I do restrict myself to complaining about one season–winter. Because if I started complaining about summer too, that’d just be weird.

  14. Michelle says:

    I like getting older. I’m digging the hell out of it.

    Except the parts I don’t like. And I complain about them.

  15. Yes! I fully agree. Seems the ones who have the very most reason and every right to complain about health issues are those who remain silent about them. I respect that… and abhor those who bitch and moan without ever considering how very good they have it.

  16. I’ve been reading a few books on the topic of spirituality and aging. The authors address the issue of complaining. I still complain too much, but it’s inspiring to spend time (through a book) with people who have thought a lot about how to be grateful and how to let go of expectations that differ from reality. I just picked up my 3rd pair of bifocals today (stronger and stronger scripts). There’s an invitation to be happy I still have my eyesight instead of focusing on how bad my eyes are these days. Thanks for encouraging me to keep growing away from complaining.

  17. Love this! I know people who complain all the time. It drives me crazy. So it’s made me aware of when I do it. And I try to remind myself too, that there are others who are truly suffering, and that I have so much to be grateful for.

  18. Thank goodness someone is talking about this! I am soooo not interested in all the negativity that is written about. Give me humor, thoughtfulness, adventure, travel, food, books… you get the picture. We can ALL complain, because we all have things to complain about. But this is what I say to that – nobody cares.

  19. Lana says:

    I try not to complain too much, although I do use my blog to…..vent about certain things. If I offend somebody I guess they won’t read further. I think complaining transcends generations though – the ones below me seem to have really perfected the art!

  20. Ines Roe says:

    Wonderful post that really helps put things in perspective. If we chose to we can find many things to complain about but how much time and energy is wasted on that. I like thinking about the positive elements in life and be grateful for the joys

  21. Donna Hanton says:

    Oh Carol, the irony…!

    I agree that perpetual complainers can drag all of us down with their negativity. And I do try not to be one of them, or join in when I encounter them.

    But I think that it’s human to complain at times, and I don’t think it has anything to do with the magnitude of our problems. The best solution is to be aware of our own actions, zip the bitching when we catch ourselves and be grateful for what we have.

  22. Ha! I recently heard a speaker at a TED talk say “complaining is draining.” So true!

  23. It confuses me when people our age complain about growing older. I feel so blessed to be where I am in life and with people I love. I wouldn’t go back. There are so many great things about this journey and every stage. Not that there aren’t some down sides, but the good definitely outweighs the bad.

  24. WendysHat says:

    I guess I notice this even more with the birth of social media. I don’t think it was meant to be a place for all to complain about everything in! {Is that considered complaining? Hahaha!} So many things that could worry us. Life is too short not to look for the positive in it. What good does complaining really do anyways?

  25. Carolann says:

    Funny thing is I notice more and more folks complaining every day! I think we get in the habit of doing it, so I’m always mindful of not doing it too much 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.