What a Pessimistically Optimistic World We Weave

💬 Highlights:

  • There is a concerning obsession for pessimism in world slowly improving.
  • While not blind to the problems of the world, I strongly desire to make the world better.
  • Many Normal Happenings features this year will be thematically optimistic.

🎧 Recommended Listening:

Your First Light My Eventide, The Echelon Effect

“What a Pessimistically Optimistic World We Weave”

Season 2, Episode 1

Do you remember back in December 2012, when the world was at least in part convinced themselves that the world was just going to end? That, even after all of the little story arcs in all of our lives, Earth was simply going to blink out of existence. Books and documentaries of both prophetic doomsday and analytical reassurance rivaled each other on the shelves of their media marketplaces. The whole pandemonium seemed a bit childish, especially six years removed from the calamity of never.

Yet, I too became fascinated with the phenomenon, not because I for a second believed the end was upon us — though I was slightly concerned that humans and their propensity towards self-fulfilling prophecy were going to find a way to make it happen — but rather how fully many had accepted their impending fate. I recall several media agencies were positing that these types of people felt, even desired, the end of the world out of a sense of misguided judgement. “How could any reasonable person want the world to end?” I asked myself, the burgeoning activist inside of me immediately interpreting such a sentiment as an unusual form of victim blaming.

Fast forward to the present day, however, and I begin to wonder if perhaps there may be some truth to these end-of-the-world desires after all. I suspected our cultural obsession with dystopian literature would subside a few months after the daily life of 2013 kicked in. It has not; the thrill and joy of living has not ushered in a new golden era of optimism. It is as if, despite the world being at a more positive point than it ever has in human history, society is more obsessed with pessimism than it has been in a long time. And, in the face of so many technological, medical, and scientific breakthroughs, I believe that mentality is harming us. I wish to do something about that, in small or in large — whatever opportunities I’m blessed with to show the beauty of life among the pain so self-evident.

As with all explorations of optimism, I would be remiss without noting that I am not naive to the issues of the world. We’re currently dealing with major battles on two fronts: accelerating climate change, of which we can really only hope technology provides a conduit towards restoration of natural habitats, and sociopolitical pressure that stalls human rights process at a rate I would like to see. These are highly complex issues far outside of the realm of Normal Happenings, but I feel it is important to note that I do not follow blind idealism. Rather, I am the type of person who harnesses that idealism in an attempt to make small portions of the world a better place. All of that is to say, this year in particular for Normal Happenings will focus on unrelenting optimism — a focus on futurism in the context that life can continue to improve on a macro scale if indeed humans are overall good as I suspect.

As the first feature of the year, and a bit of a soft reboot for Normal Happenings, I want this piece to serve as an introduction for the themes you are likely to see this year. It is very brave to be defiantly an optimist in the face of such cynicism, but if others cannot because of culture or experiences, I will. It is my responsibility. I hope you will join me in viewing the world from a more positive perspective. We are the ones making up this amazing planet after all. We deserve to be happy. Our art, our literature, our engineering and architecture, technological advancements and philosophical musings — all of it is beautiful. With the overwhelming effort we put into our accomplishments, we can and will build a future better than the ones depicted in the pessimistic media we love so much. While Normal Happenings will, of course, be about a great many things this year, don’t be surprised if it all comes back to finding ways to make the world a better place. Sometimes the simplest messages are ones that need the most repetition to be understood.

So, let’s discuss. Do you believe there is a lack of optimism in today’s culture. If so, how do you feel about that? And if not, let me know how I can alter my own perspective to see how people themselves are being positive. I would also love some recommendations on some good books, films, television shows, video games, or podcasts that reflect an optimistic perspective. Until next time, may your days be anything but normal!

Help us make amazing designs, better collaborations, and even achieve our dreams of podcast and video content! Consider becoming one of the amazing patrons of Normal Happenings.


Nice Job Badges | January 3


  • Posts from around the blogosphere worthy of a “Nice Job!”
  • If you win one, feel free to add it to your post/site with a pingback.
  • In no particular order — they’re all great!

Nice Job Badges

Vol. 2, No. 1 | Next

Well hello there! I hope the first four days of your 2019 have been a smashing success! It turns out that we haven’t given out Nice Job Badges since September 21, 2018. Yikes, talk about a great thing getting lost within the holiday frenzy of posts. We’re going to try to do better this year, dedicating Fridays purely to badges. As such, we’ve also removed a lot of bloat from the format, focusing instead on these brilliant writers. No more using badge posts as an excuse for updates — just an intro, five Nice Job Badges, and a brief conclusion.

My 2018: year in review | Geeky Hippie

“Overall 2018 was an amazing year for me, one of big change, self development, more time spent with friends and what felt like gaining a new sense of freedom.”

This week something cool happened! A great blogger I had never met became part of the new Spring 2019 Tracking Shells collaboration! I wanted to show off Sally’s amazing writing skills over at Geeky Hippie. There is not a ton of recent writing, but the stuff that is there is gold. And that site design is absolutely gorgeous! Go follow Geeky Hippie — I predict great things coming from this blogger in the future.

2019 Resolutions | Nerd Side of Life

“I write a lot about how I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions. They’re bound to fail and I can never think of anything that I’ll actually succeed at – hence why I never make them. But this year, I’m going to make a good solid attempt.”

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I think that Alyssa from Nerd Side of Life might be one of the most underrated bloggers in the blogosphere right now.

✔️ Blog design: on point.
✔️ Content: cool and informative.
✔️ Writing voice: fun and quirky.

I guess what I’m saying is this Games That Define Us alum deserves more followers. Care to do something about it?

Oh also, this New Year’s resolution post is pretty cool, too.

Video games: stuck on repeat | Later Levels

“I thought I’d have a quick scan to see which titles had made the list [of best-selling games of 2018] and something struck me: almost every single entry was either a sequel or one featuring characters from an existing franchise.”

“Hey, where’s your weekly Nice Job Badge for Kim at Later Levels?” You may be asking yourself this question, but rest assured I never need too much of an excuse to award one of my blogging heroes. Let’s be honest, though, it was the graphs that won me over to this post. For some, flowers are the quickest way to the heart; for others, it’s food. For me, it’s graphs. This is a fantastic, well-researched read worthy of your time.

Also, and this is a big deal. You are requested and required to vote for Later Levels in the 2019 UK Blog Awards. It takes, like, two clicks. But do it!

Mom’s Beef and Broccoli | Sheikah Plate

“As I’ve mentioned before, my mom lived in Taiwan for a few years in her twenties. This means that, not only did she come home with some amazing experiences, but she came home with some amazing small-town, authentic Taiwanese/Chinese recipes. But this one is my favorite.”

You know those films that are so obviously designed from conception to win awards? I don’t know why, but “Mom’s Beef and Broccoli” by the amazingly talented Teri Mae feels like that… and it totally worked! Filled with delicious food and a heartwarming dedication to her mother, I couldn’t tell if the unusual feeling in my stomach was hunger or an emotional reaction to her wonderful story.

Also, we can’t wait to see how she somehow pairs fanciful dining with Mario Kart in Tracking Shells. She’ll probably combine banana peels and octopus ink, somehow.

TWRMradio2019 – “A Year of Music” | The Well-Red Mage

“It’s 2019 and we’re introducing an entire year of video game music! What better way to celebrate the games that bring us together and fill the next 365 days with wonder, joy, and curiosity than by filling it with music?”

Oh Well-Red… do you even know what you’re getting into? Do you understand the implications of taking-on a year-long project like this? I mean, fine, you probably do. I am a huge fan of long undertakings — coming from a person who publishes a new writing prompt every single day, I understand the planning and commitment it takes to pull off a daily feature without exception. It’s like grinding for XP, but in real life. But hey, at least in this grind, you don’t have to listen to the same repetative music track over and over again.

And that’s that! Did I miss any amazing posts deserving of a Nice Job Badge? Let us know in the comments, and we’re happy to put them in the running for next week. And, of course, you can submit Nice Job Badge nominations any time you want on Twitter. You’ll get a shout-out for any posts that get selected for badges. As always, have a great week, and keep on doing a Nice Job at life!

Help us make amazing designs, better collaborations, and even achieve our dreams of podcast and video content. Consider becoming one of the amazing patrons of Normal Happenings. We would be forever grateful!