I’ve tried a little different twist this week to my end of day journaling. I usually, in addition to recounting my illustrious doin’s (laundry can be illustrious, right?), also list five things about each day that I’m grateful for. This isn’t hard, most days. You good folks continue to buy my books–I am endlessly grateful for that! I get to do work I love. I have the physical ability to do playful things I love to do. Life on a day-to-day basis is, all things considered, pretty sweet.
But life from a larger perspective is daunting. The pandemic is winning in too many states and nations, politics is an ongoing roller derby that doesn’t seem to be solving any of our real problems, and grappling constructively with racism will take courage, integrity, luck, and tons of persistence.
Through my early adulthood, the Fairness Doctrine meant news organizations dealt in facts and truth, but that stopped being the case when the Fairness Doctrine was repealed (1987, at President Reagan’s direction). Now? The profit motive means that those same organizations present us with material that engages, whether it’s true, relevant, important, or ridiculous. And what engages us? Negativity, that’s what.
If you are Og or Oggette Caveperson, strolling forth from your camp into the glorious dawn of the new prehistoric day, and you are faced with the choice of wallowing in the beauty of the sunrise, or scampering away from that cobra curled in the grass, you either get to scampering (and give that place in the grass a wide berth ever after), or you don’t live to appreciate too many more sunrises. So we notice trouble, we recall trouble, and we watch for trouble. The media thus feeds us a constant diet of trouble, threats of trouble, and possible trouble.
It makes me cranky and down, to be on red alert all the time, so I back away from social media, from untrustworthy “news” sites, and so forth, but lately I’m doing something else. I’m concluding my day with a little inventory of What Went Right.
Anything is fair game for this list. I found one healthy orange kitten on my porch. Healthy is good. A litter of one (appears to be) is very good. I-could-catch-him is a hat trick, because anybody I can catch I can get fixed. What else went right? Maryland’s COVID numbers are trending downward and folks here wear their bleepin’ masks. Daisy Dorning (Fromm) wants a book (Sorry, Sycamore. Wait your turn). My boogered-up wrist isn’t getting any worse. Love and Other Perils is on ebook sale for $.99 and folks are buying it (both stories have kitties in them). Captain Sharpe survived Waterloo!
The immediate effect of inventorying what’s going right is a mood boost, but it’s also a form of conditioning. I’m telling my brain: Find a bright side. Look until you find one. Find five, in fact. Find fifteen. Focus on that. And I am gaining temporary immunity to the negativity that flows in a toxic flood from too many directions.
So what is going right for you? Where is your bright side? To three commenters, I’ll send signed copies of A Lady’s Dream Come True.