Thanks for taking a look at my little hodgepodge of a blog. Take a ganger at the bottom of the page to see the Categories. That will help to make sense of my short journal entries. The format and subjects of my blog has changed through the years as it's my log of S.N.McKibben's writing journey. You've now been sufficiently forewarned, happy reading!
2020 has been bad for everyone. Don't look at me though, my name isn't everyone. Everyone ELSE though seems to having a hard time with 2020 when it's been one of the best years for me personally.
Now, I'm not denying things are weird, but, it's as if my whole life has prepared me for this particular year.
Neither am I denying the 2020 phenomenon. People have died. People have fallen on hard times. People have fallen apart. Things have gone crazy.
But, people have been born. People have risen far beyond themselves because of these hard times. People have picked the pieces back up and become stronger. And things go crazy in cycles. Live long enough and you'll see them too.
This isn't a "Told You So" note to the world, honest.
I say that because preppers prep for everything. Including the zombie apocalypse. Which is just another way of saying we're prepared for the government to go to shit and attack us for our resources. Or to make an example of preppers for their independence. Or raid us for a lack of foresight much like The Ants and the Grasshopper story.
But since I'm also of the mind that everyone has a value, I would let the Grasshopper in that story inside and make him dance and sing and play music for his winter dinner. It would be a perfect trade. Entertainment for food. The Grasshopper does what entertainers do best and Ants do what preppers do best. I actually don't see the problem with that scenario. Unless you hold resentment for what you do. Then that sounds like a problem with responsibility.
How did this become a life lesson in following your dreams?
But in actuality, that's how 2020 is the best year I've had since 2019.
Preppers gonna Prep
We prepared for a goal in mind. One we'd been working towards for 10 years. That goal? Move out of California.
California is fun, the weather is excellent. The bugs are virtually non-existent. But the culture is indifferent. The cities aren't inclusive, they're anonymous. No matter how many different eateries showcase the blending of cultures, California doesn't claim any one of them. People have their niche and because the city doesn't care much, you can carve your own special place out. But don't mistake anonymity for acceptance.
One can be swallowed into the crowd.
Cities are the places where people go for their fortune or to hide. Sometimes both. They're called actors. These people went to the cities because they were unable to comply with their previous social circle and/or wanted "more" from life.
Or at least this is what any Hollywood writer would have you believe.
In reality, California is fun. People are nice if you smile, except while driving. The traffic is arguably the worst in the world. Think India but with guiding white lines and light signals.
Everyone pretty much minds their own business, especially if someone is being mugged. Or maybe it's just shell-shock, or sheep-like helplessness or maybe they think they're just watching a movie. Who knows, the result is the same, no one will come to your aid. It's always someone else's problem. And if you talk too loud and someone doesn't agree with you, your ostracized.
It's a simple life.
Pretend to be happy.
Don't get in the way.
To some, ours was an overnight move. Those people were just the social media people (Pretend to be happy). To others, it was a 6 month endeavor (shut up). But to those close to us, it wasn't a surprise that we moved─but a surprise that we'd finally done it! (Don't get in the way).
We just followed that age old saying: If you don't like it here, move.
Yep. Sound advice.
Because I'm not the kind of person that pretends to be happy. I know the secret to being happy and if you really want to know what it is, email me. It's just wasted otherwise because it's so easy and yet so hard to accept.
As far as keeping quiet goes... I'm so loud that my silence is deafening so, shutting up isn't a possibility.
As far as not getting in the way... I mean, I try... but I'm too annoying for that because like any other human, I want what I want and were you done with the rest of the food on your plate?
Can I have it?
Yep. I'm that person.
Power of Positivity
My mom likes to tell the story of how when I was a child (groan...) I wasn't a babbler. I'd sleep in and when I awoke, I'd giggle and bounce in my crib waiting for someone to come pick me up. Born optimist if there ever were.
Trying to tell you to be positive is like a piano progeny of five teaching you how to compose music. Or that kid that wins the race the first time they ever donned their shoes on the track.
JUST BE POSITIVE!
First, being positive, isn't being happy. Those are two freaking different things. So don't think walking around with a forced smile on your face is going to help. Okay, there is something to changing your mood by fake it till you make it. But being positive has a certain element of being prepared.
Hence my prepper story.
See what I did there? I totally had you thinking one did not equal the other... admit it!
You thought I was just rambling, didn't ya!
The power of positivity also has to do with being observant.
If you think the MEME below is funny in more ways than one than you too are one of the optimists!
Because you can foresee the coming incident at the picture on top and cackle at being shown right from the picture on the bottom.
Why is optimism foresight? Because when you foresee, you can expect. When you expect you can prepare your reaction.
Happiness is not Optimism.
There one more ingredient to optimism though.
If I've learned one thing, there's just really one thing you need.
Hope is Optimism.
So you might be wondering what this all has to do with staying positive in hard times.
Hope, observation, and being prepared gives you the power of choice.
What if you still don't get it. That's okay. Let's expand.
Hope, observation and being prepared gives you the power of choice on which scenario you're going to choose. If your natural inclination is to give up after watching that progeny play the piano better than you ever will, it means your hope meter is low. But cognizant reason helps you play devil's advocate. Cognizant reason is the part of your that says, I think I'll stay in on November 3rd this coming 2020.
Sure, the piano progeny will always be better. So what's the opposite of that thought?
The opposite is a conversation that looks like: Wait a minute, this kid is a gift. This kid is a mentor. This kid could take me further than any other piano teacher.
Optimism is just looking at something with hope. And if you're observant and prepare to meet the circumstance of a situation, even better.
For Naysays of Optimism
I'm just being a realist.
Awesome! So basically your telling me you have observation to prepare but have no hope.
Here's where the realist points out:
"How can you find optimism in all this?"
My answer: Did I mention anywhere in this article that optimism was easy?
No. I said use your cognizant reason. Play devil's advocate. Be prepared. Choose not to see things happening as a worst case scenario. Hope is a choice. That choice is given to you by cognitive reason. And observation will help you flip the story around to see it through hope's eyes.
Using cognizant reason is very hard to do when you react to everything. And I mean react as in people don't react when they are proactive.
Let me point out:
Optimism isn't being dumb. Optimism doesn't have anything to do with being happy. Optimism doesn't have to be beyond reality.
Covid had an impact on me. It helped my freelancing business and thus, I had more work than ever. There are people who died. I hope they had the care and compassion everyone deserves during such times. But I refuse to treat everyone like they have the plague. Humanity will always have hunters like Covid. We will fight this virus like we have for millennia. With our immune system. Break out the vitamins!
Preparing myself to be out of a job helped me become a freelancer.
Becoming a freelancer helps me write.
Writing gives me expression.
My expression is the way I see things.
So the way I see things is usually hopeful. Thus the optimism.
Optimism is fed from somewhere. It's like the circle of life. Happiness feeds hope. Hope feeds optimism. Optimism feeds dreams. Dreams feeds goals. Goals feed fulfilment. Fulfilment feeds happiness.
You can jump in anywhere in that circle to get started.