Trading Doom For Joy

I’m making spaghetti for dinner and humming a tune. I never hum a tune. 19,227 days… 52 years, 7 months and about three weeks in this world without a single hum, until now.

There’s nothing to hum about, really. The presidential campaign was as draining for us common folks as it was for the candidates, if not more, and the media focus on doom, doom, doom. It’s everywhere. And that’s just it. 19,227 days of being me and I finally stopped panicking. In fact, I am very clear about one thing: I will not let this take my joy away. I’ve worked too hard for that joy.

Trying to imagine what might happen next is exhausting. Focusing on a leader’s possible shortcomings is exhausting. More than this (and I’m speaking for myself here), I think that indulging in this sort of thinking isolates me and makes me even more fearful. I believe that everyone means well, or at the very least that they can surprise me. And I have to believe that all the good and progress in the world endures both because of us and in spite of us. Otherwise I might as well have full-blown paranoia.

Analysts and journalists and all manners of researchers dance on one foot and the other trying to zero in on the exact scenario we might expect. It’s fascinating and important to explore human nature, culture and society, but the answers are never set in stone and certainty never at hand. There are too many factors, too many players, too many variants, too many unseen side roads and scenarios. Why choose fear when the path is so blurry? Fear is useful in the presence of immediate danger; it is harmful in the presence of imagined danger. And there is a difference between fear and caution.

No. I am not wearing pink glasses. That’s just it. I do not believe all is well with this world, but I am beginning to let go of my usual filters. They drain me. Now that’s reason enough to start humming!

When I worry or take part in the fear conversation, I fall off track. When I fall off track I do not get my work done. When I do not get my work done I give in to self-reproach, impatience and general imbalance. When I feel so askew I start believing there is not enough time, not enough money, not enough friends, not enough opportunity, not enough joy, not enough safety, not enough of anything. That’s not my government doing this to me. It’s me.

So, I am humming a tune because I am not afraid anymore. I certainly care about what happens to people around me and I will certainly experience fear again, but I will not be afraid and I am done being angry. There is a difference.

Meanwhile, on my table… Little paper-mâché fawns will travel. Fearlessly.


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