I finally made it to Jakarta, Indonesia to speak at the Indonesia Fitness & Health Expo after missing my connecting flight in Tokyo and having to spend the night. Don’t know if it was the fried potato or the water that came in a glass, but I spent half the night in Tokyo with diarrhea, hoping my colon would be empty by morning so I could run without having to find an innocent bush. Nothing like starting my day with a run in a (very) foreign place. Running has been such a large part of my life for so long that it has become the most familiar thing in my life. It’s comforting to return to something familiar when you’re surrounded by the unfamiliar. Especially when you’re alone.
So, what does all this have to do with complaining Jews? A lot, actually. When I found out in San Francisco that I was going to miss my connecting flight in Tokyo, my initial reaction was negative. I started complaining to myself. I knew spending the night in Tokyo meant I was going to miss my presentation and workout I was hosting for a running club in Jakarta.
I recently dated someone who told me I complain a lot. She obviously has never spent much time around New York Jews. But her comment made me think about why I complain and why that trait is so common among people from the east coast of the U.S. I think it’s cultural. New Yorkers complain for the same reason that southern Californians think every day is beautiful and post about it on Facebook. Southern Californians see the sun and the palm trees and acknowledge and appreciate the beauty of it all; New Yorkers see what’s wrong or what’s lacking and often work to change it. I think that’s why people from New York tend to be ambitious. They see what is and what can be.
Complaining doesn’t hold me back. It makes me more successful because I strive to be better to change the very thing I’m complaining about. That girl I was dating thinks I would be even more successful if I were more positive, more of an optimist. Perhaps. But perhaps I need things to complain about so I can recognize what I want to change and be motivated to change it. There’s nothing wrong with being an optimistic pessimist. As long as I remember to drink only bottled water the next five days in Jakarta.