Three back-to-back snowstorms have slammed the area, three Mondays in a row dumping a record 70 inches of snowfall in the past 30 days. The only reprieve was the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, but that celebratory spirit didn't last very long with almost 4 feet in the front yard. And, if what we've been through isn't enough, there's two more snow storms in the forecast for later this week.
The only thing more ubiquitous than the snow is the complaining.
"Yes! And there's another one coming Sunday. This is the worst winter, ever."
"Did you hear the Northshore, has thrown in the towel? They canceled classes all week and started February break early. I wish our #$% school would do the same."
"I wouldn't mind this if I were in Vail and could walk to a lift, but this is ridiculous."
"I'm moving. It's 73 and sunny in Dallas right now. Boston blows."
Pick up the local papers and there's more whining: from tongue-in-cheek breakup letters to winter, to local officials pointing fingers at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which is shut down today due to the snow. There's so much griping, you'd think New Englanders had never seen snow.
What's funny about complaining is it doesn't work. It won't help you shovel the walk, or dig out your car. It doesn't lower your heating bill and it definitely won't make the snow go away. Mother Nature is going to do what she is going to do. And by the looks of it, she's far from done with winter. The question for Boston isn't how much longer will this last, it's how are you going to spend this historic winter: haggard or happy?
One of my favorite books is "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. In 2007, Pausch was dying of terminal pancreatic cancer and gave this "last lecture" to his kids, his students, his colleagues at Carniege Mellon and, because it went viral, to all of us. What he says is a gift and really makes you stop and think about your life and your attitude.
One quote in particular, comes to mind, as I sit here and look out at the almost 5 feet of snow on our deck.
"Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won't make us happier."
It's so true. Complaining about life is what we do, but it doesn't make us happier. I may not be happy about shoveling the walkway for the fifth time in two days and complaining about it doesn't make it easier. I'm definitely not happy that the cat has started peeing inside because he's so mad he can't go outside, but complaining about it won't stop him. I'm looking forward to warmer weather, but complaining about the snow won't make Spring come faster.
In life, there are always problems that we face: a terrible diagnosis, a relationship that ends, money problems, even death. What's interesting about struggle is that it always passes. It may seem horrendous right now, but this too shall pass. It's like the seasons, they come and they go. And before you know it, April's sun will be shining on your face.
Another thing Pausche said that's stuck with me: "No matter how bad things are. You can always make them worse."
The weather is completely out of your control. No use struggling with Mother Nature or the Universe. You'll always lose. What you can control is your attitude, which will affect your personal level of happiness. It's why this morning at the gym, I was so happy when I heard the chorus of complaints interrupted by someone who said, "Really? I LOVE it! It's why I live in New England. Enjoy the beautiful white snow, soon enough we'll all be bitchin' about mud season."
Stop complaining, Boston. This winter has made it's decision, it's sticking around. In the scheme of your life, this winter will be over in a blink of an eye -- so you might as well try to enjoy it while you can.