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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shopping for Truth: Stop complaining, start living

Published: February 15, 2008
Section: Opinions

One of my best friends often tells me “we deal with what we’re given.” And I can’t help but think she’s right, even on my worst days. It seems that everyone at Brandeis is an overachiever, boasting 5 or more classes, multiple jobs, and a myriad of club commitments. And that’s on top of actually managing a social life! So how do we all actually deal with all this responsibility? And how does this philosophy help us in our lives after Brandeis? Let’s find out.

I’ll admit it: sometimes in the face of adversity I’m one of those people who would like nothing more than to crawl up and hibernate in my room to escape my problems. But you and I both know that that’s just not the answer. So what do we do?

You all know that old cliché that goes ‘there’s always someone who’s worse off than you.’ It’s the one our parents always tell us when we complain about how bad we have it because we got a bad grade or because the weather didn’t go our way. (I know, very earth shattering situations, right? I’m amazed we even survive.) Even though it’s hard to see it when we’re upset about something, there is always someone out there who has a problem that sure trumps our trivial ones. Seriously.

For example, some people complain that it’s raining (or if you live in New England lately snowing). And I’ll admit it, I’m sometimes one of those people. Really, what snow lover actually is enjoying all of this white stuff? There’s something called too much of a good thing and we’ve definitely reached that point of the winter to admit that.

But we just have to see that there’s something in the snow, and in all inconveniences or hardships that’s a blessing to us all-the promise of spring coming soon. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and all that jazz. Now enough of that though because I know some of you are probably sick of my sentimentality by now. But I’m by far not one of those ever-happy people. Well, okay, sometimes it may seem like I am, but I’m just like any other person. I like to see the glass as half full, and not terribly empty. And that’s the best that any of us can ever do.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic, so excuse my rambling, but it’s just what’s on my mind today. It seems like when bad things happen, they come in batches. Until recently, it seemed like I was in one of those slumps and didn’t know how to change it. But I’ve finally learned that something good comes out of everything that’s bad. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to see it when the bad initially happens, because bad has a way of blinding you like this pesky snow we love to complain about. But with time, I truly believe that we learn something from all forms of adversity we face.

As I’m sure many of you are freaking out about midterm exams and papers that are stacking up, this philosophy seems more important than ever. It just goes with the theory that bad things come in bunches. Everything all seems to pile up at once and we often see no way out, but there always is.

Exhibit A – vacation!! Just think, in a few short days, we’ll all be on vacation and can relax. (Haha what’s that concept?) I know it’s annoying that a lot of us may actually have a bunch of work over break, myself included, but at least we can take a break from classes and catch up with old friends at home, sleep, eat (you know, the good stuff).

There’s always something that can shield us from the downpours in our life. Whether it’s literally an umbrella to ward off the precipitation, or a friend to vent with, they’re out there. And half the time, we really shouldn’t be complaining at all. There are people out there with cancer, people in abject poverty, and people truly suffering.

So feel free to grab me and commiserate about how annoying exams are; I’ll be happy to sympathize. But don’t waste your whole day complaining, because then what is there left?

Somehow, though, there are still people who complain constantly and do nothing to fix anything they see wrong with the world. This makes no sense. One of my favorite quotes was uttered by Gandhi when he once said “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” So go out people, and change something!