We’re in the finishing straight now. Just a few more days to go. Going the entire day without complaining yesterday was not too difficult, although I know someone else that struggled. Eventually by lunchtime they simply forgot that the challenge was still on, but not before finding ways to redefine a complaint as a statement, or an observation.
Complaints reduce our sense of gratitude and easily distract us by everything that is wrong before we notice what is right. It’s possible to recognise the good while complaining about the bad, but the problem is that when you start by noticing the bad, chances of moving on to the good is less because often some of the bad points that we notice and justifiably criticise will not be fully resolved in the short term, which means we don’t get to fully move beyond it anytime soon. So start with the good instead.
Day 17: Send yourself flowers
This is a somewhat conflicting challenge, and not because of its traditionally sexist connotations. I’m not into political correctness, so don’t hold your breath. The first thought that came to mind when I read this was the quote about killing something beautiful just because you wanted to own it. You know, cutting a flower because it is beautiful effectively reduces its lifespan to the time it will spend in water in your vase. But if that works for you, I won’t judge you.
I prefer live plants. Flowering plants if possible. Not only are there health benefits from having them around, both physical and emotional, but they are more enduring. Given the whimsical nature of human expression these days, I think we need more enduring gestures, don’t you?
If you suck at taking care of live plants, get a cactus. Barely needs more than a teaspoon of water a week, and they develop some stunningly beautiful plants as well. Besides, when a prickly character approaches your desk, you can side-eye the cactus to throw hints as well.
Plants and flowers connect us to nature, especially those of us living in concrete jungles. Having such grounding points is soothing. It is one of those soothing experiences that I don’t try to rationalise because I believe that some things should be left as a mystery. Rationalising everything removes the mystique from life and turns it into a cold comfort of knowledge and understanding only.
In the final few days of this challenge I find myself looking forward to reflecting on the changes or benefits that I may have experienced as a result of these really simple tasks over this 20 day period. But before I get to that point, I need to go shopping for a plant for my home office. Might have to de-clutter a little more since the Day 5 challenge so that I have space on my desk for it. I hate paper!