There I was, sitting in front of a computer trying to come up with today’s blog topic. Everything I kept coming up with just struck me as, well, a major bummer. From talking about the sexism inherent in the system to some takes on the distressing current events, nothing was coming up that was particularly perky. It’s not that I don’t want to delve into sad things from time to time. I’m more than happy to take on the maudlin and morbid when the mood strikes. Not right now, though. That’s why I’m going into this without a plan. Oh no. We’re going to do this completely off-the-cuff with the intent to just make things a little brighter today.

Vicious Cycles

As I type this, some words of wisdom started rolling through my brain. A wise green alien said, “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” Yoda was specifically talking about taking the Dark Side of the Force, but I think it’s something to keep in mind when dealing with your own outlook on life. If there’s something I’ve learned in my nearly thirty years on this planet, it’s that negativity begets negativity.

Without sounding too esoteric here, when you pour negative energy into the universe, that’s what gets reflected back at you. That’s why your terrible days frequently seem to become even worse with each passing hour. Once you’ve tripped over a rock in your otherwise clear path, all you see from then on are the rocks that seek to catch your toes. It’s a reflexive defense mechanism. Sometimes, your days are genuinely crappy with a heaping dose of crap cream and a crap cherry on top. I get that. That day will end, though, and be followed by a fresh day that may turn out to be totally awesome.

It’s hard to look at the news and everything going on in the world today and not start feeling the creeping shadow of despair. I know that I have to take a step back from time to time and remind myself that while things might look really bleak right now, there is always the hope for a brighter future. Though we may not live to see those days, they will arrive someday. I try to take pleasure in the little victories in life. Though those stories don’t gain as much traction as tragedies, they’re there if you’re looking.

While I like to declare that my personal outlook is a mixture of the exuberance of Tigger with a healthy dose of Eeyore’s gloom to keep myself balanced, I frequently find myself leaning more toward Eeyore with a dose of Rabbit’s neuroses for good measure. That said, I do try to remain relaxed and calm about it all. I’ve discovered that it takes a lot of energy to be stressed out and angry. I’d rather just not put that effort into something that doesn’t make me happy. When I had a stressful day on Friday, I left work determined to make the most of the evening and weekend ahead. The week was behind me now. The stresses were behind me now. I could just move forward.

“What can men do against such reckless hate?”

“Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them.”

Okay, yes, that was totally me quoting The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers just then. It’s been ringing a lot in my head lately. I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

Turn off the TV. Shut down your computers. Take a step back and think for a moment. Pick one of those problems out there in the world that has been prodding the back of your mind. Once you’ve got that in your head, start brainstorming things you could do to help. Whether it’s donating time or resources to help those in need or doing your utmost to become educated and subsequently spreading the message to educate others, there’s something you can do to meet that problem head on.

Now that you’ve done that, try seeing if you can get others to take a few moments to do the same. Imagine that we got multitudes of people to follow suit. There you have a legion of people who are doing something to try to make this world a better place. Isn’t that kind of an awesome thought?

Together, humanity is capable of doing terrible things, but it is also capable of doing so much good. It’s high time that we tried to veer our focus away from the seemingly-inevitable dystopian future that seems to loom over the horizon. We can do so much better. We can make our world so much better. All we need to do is remember how far we’ve come so far from where we’ve been. Men have stepped foot on the moon. We can hold instantaneous conversations with people around the world about the most inane of subjects. We’ve got the ability. We just need to summon the will and determination to do it.

These times are not the end times. This is not going to be our last fight. There are brighter days ahead of us.