Though times can be tough, it is possible to use it as a tool for encouragement rather than destruction.
Loved ones, learning, and art can make negative time a little better.
“May the Years We’re Here Encourage Us”
Volume 2, Number 4
Winter in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. can be rough, especially if you can count on one hand the number of times you’ve seen snow growing up. When Nikki and I moved from Alabama, U.S. to STL, we very quickly found ourselves feeling particularly down during the winter months. We are outdoorsy by nature, and when the ability to explore nature twelve months out of the year was taken away from us, we found ourselves experiencing “cabin fever” quite often. The temperature would plunge, freezing the roadways and making it impossible to even go to the gym or get groceries. Finding ourselves stuck in our apartment, we were forced to confront negative time.
Positivity is a learned skill, but it has become my new default.
It takes a lot of energy to be positive.
Often tools are required to be optimistic in situations not ideal.
Part of my pursuit of removing pretentiousness and bloat from my own writing. Sometimes simple messages are best told simply.
“Positivity By Force”
Volume 2, Number 3
I am an optimist, but I was not born one. I am positive by default, but it is a learned skill. I do it because I feel it increases the quality of life of myself and those around me. The funny thing about positivity — it doesn’t come as easily as negativity. Like how it takes more effort to smile than to frown, it seems reasonable to set my default state of being to within a standard deviation of neutral. The day determines if I fall to the left or right of that baseline — a slight push towards negative or positive is determined by the weather, the daily commute, or the current level of caffeine consumption. That type of life does not work for me, however. I want to be more than the sum of my reactions.
There seems to be an interesting connection between forming our first memories and forgetting each day as an adult.
As we grow up, we lose our wonderment towards everyday life.
Avoid deriving a sense of purpose from life’s big accomplishments.
Minor trigger advisory: this piece makes a few sporadic references to faith. As we’ve made clear in the past, we have no desire to push those on other people.
“Pedestrians of Our Own Lives”
Volume 2, Number 2
Back in school, I remember having a friend who insisted that he could remember being born. He was the competitive sort, especially when it came to one-upping others in experiences and smarts, so despite my pension for giving people the benefit of the doubt, I am still skeptical. He is not the only one, though; a subset of the human population also believes they possess memories prior to birth. Sentience, without so much as glimpse beyond the barrier of protection that is the womb? That’s hard for me to believe. The passage of time, that sudden stream of memories flooding our brain, and our very own purpose — our first great awakening — it all comes together in a funny way I cannot fully comprehend.
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:
“What a Pessimistically Optimistic World We Weave”
volume 2, number 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.
A personality defined by irrepressible optimism, even in the face of the most adverse or discouraging of circumstances. That, in a nutshell, is what the word “pollyanna” means.
Normal Happenings is a blog of unbridled optimism. Although I recognize and have deeply experienced the darkness of the world, I choose to encounter the world through an unbreakable positivity. I have no qualms about saying that’s a form of Pollyannaism, and a very healthy manifestation of it at that. I am not naive, nor unrealistic, but it my worldview of optimism that keeps me from sinking.
Flashback to May of 2015: I had just finished my first year of graduate school, proposed to Nikki winter prior, and extremely recently lost my assistantship due to misunderstanding and bad luck. This was an obvious section of my life that mixed strong positivity with negativity, making it apropos that this is when the word came into my life. It always came as a surprise to me that the word took this long to show up. By this point I was already making end roads of manifesting my overly positive personality, but more so my communications background should have given me knowledge of the existence of the iconic 1913 children’s book by Eleanor Porter. After all, the book inspired a great many movie adaptations and firmly cemented its way into modern vernacular. Continue reading “I Am a Pollyanna: Personal Positivity in the Face of Societal Negativity”→
I hear a voice more harsh than a gunshot whispering in my ear.
“No one will understand, listen, or care about you,” it claims, wrapping it’s arms around my neck and dragging me out of the existing moment I am participating in. I struggle against the weight of the constricting arms that are slowly choking me to death. I try to to verbalize what is going on, but all that I see is your hard face not noticing me.
I close my eyes and allow the darkness to overtake me.
Coming off of a somewhat dark post, I want to reinforce the fact that this is an optimist’s blog! I am irrepressibly positive, or, as I’ve been called, “nauseatingly optimistic.” I like blue skies, music with eighties-sounding synthesizers, and kissing my wife on top of ferris wheels – something we haven’t done since we’ve gotten married!
So today, we’re looking at five ways to stay positive. It’s a simple message, no doubt, but sometimes the world needs simple messages.
Let me show you a little of what I know, specifically, how to stay positive. Despite my pension for delving into occasionally dark topics, I am at the top of the food chain for most upbeat person I know. I acknowledge the darkness that exists in the world, but I rarely ever embrace it. I have the confidence that everything is going to work out, no matter how bad things seem. I am not blind to negativity, but I’d like to think that I am, at the very least, sufficiently shielded from it. Continue reading “Five Ways to Stay Positive”→