My newspaper column offers reasons to be cheerful. Read the whole thing after the jump, and feel free to add your own.
Reasons to be cheerful
By Edward Cone
News & Record
A friend sent out a broadcast e-mail the other day, asking for some good news to counter the steady drumbeat of gloom she hears at every turn. Another friend quickly replied with a rant about the economy, which pretty much concluded that there is no good news. Mission unaccomplished.
Good news is a scarce commodity these days. It’s not just a global recession and smoldering wars, either, that make things so grim. Locally, we are being led through parlous times by a City Council that teeters on the edge of dysfunction, and a two-man county government that goes through senior staff like Kleenex. If bad vibes were contagious, we would be in the midst of an epidemic.
So I decided to write about other things this week. Not because the bad stuff isn’t important, but because there’s plenty of time for it, and plenty of people writing about it. Sometimes you need to find reasons to be cheerful, and ways to become so.
1. The NCAA Tournament. The most entertaining
sporting event of the year, and this time around it’s packed with
strong teams of local interest. Bonus: free, at least if you watch it
on television; you’ll have to pay to see the upcoming games at the
Greensboro Coliseum. Risk factor: Every team but one loses.
2. Springtime. It becomes official this week, although it’s been happening here for a while. Just saying the words “warmth and rejuvenation” will make you feel better, so imagine what going outside and experiencing the real things will do. Bonus: free. Risk factor: pollen.
3. Family and friends. Also, dogs. Dr. Seuss had this one pretty well figured out when he made the Who’s down in Whoville Grinch-proof, despite their lack of roast beast. Bonus: free, although dogs and kids require some maintenance. Risk factor: I don’t know your family or your dog, so your mileage may vary.
4. Service. If you can read this article, there probably are people worse off than you are. Tough times hit even harder for people in need. Don’t just count your blessings, share them. Bonus: free. Also, good karma.
5. Getting back to basics. This one may require a slight reevaluation of priorities. I read in the New York Times last week that conspicuous consumption is no longer chic. Truth is, it’s always been kind of tacky. The Times article predicted that thrift as a fashion statement won’t outlive an economic recovery, but you can do better than that. Risk factor: not keeping up with Joneses, although come to think of it, that’s kind of the point.
6. Cheap eats. Good food doesn’t have to be expensive. Lately we’ve been on a Vietnamese kick — there’s lots of good pho on High Point Road. You can cook at home, too. Bonus: Pho seems pretty healthy.
7. Simple pleasures. Read a book. Local author John Hart won last year’s Edgar Award; his next page-turner, “The Last Child,” comes out soon. Bonus: Books are free at the library. Risk factor: They might make you think. Listen to music. If this column was a song, it might be “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” except for the part where it says you shouldn’t worry about stuff that actually requires some attention, like paying your rent. Maybe the theme should be from REM: “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”
8. Perspective. Times have been bad before, they don’t stay bad forever. Warren Buffett wrote in his last investment letter (just after the part about losing billions in the worst economy he’d ever seen) that America will prosper again. Optimism is contagious.
Let’s end with another lyric, from an oldie by The Five Stairsteps: “Ooh, child, things are going to get easier.”
© News & Record 2009