Sometimes we must focus on ‘happy thoughts’

Published 2:10 pm Saturday, September 10, 2022

By Bonnie Brown

As I sat down to write this column, I wrestled with what I should write.  It is the time of the year when we all remember the 9/11 attack on our country and the overwhelming disbelief, sadness, and anger that we all felt.  As you likely remember, the day began with beautiful, blue skies and no indication whatsoever that it would turn sinister.  I don’t want to dwell on this horrible remembrance for this column.    

We seem to have enough to worry about right now.  The supply chain crises, the economy, rising crime rates, the extreme weather conditions—fires, floods, dangerous heat.  Lots to deal with.  

Every family has been affected by Covid, by illness and death, by challenges far beyond what we could have expected.  These last couple of years have taken a huge toll on us all.  Covid has changed our lives in every way.  We must constantly be on guard.  

Instead, I’d like to draw the curtain and think only positive thoughts.  I think we all need that right now.  A bit of the cocoon experience where we can focus on the positive.  I find that I don’t even want to watch a TV program or movie that deals with any kind of difficulty or troubling topics.  I want the good feelings and the happy ending.  I want to avoid any mention of politics.  I want to enjoy my home, my sanctuary, my safe haven.  I like the predictability of a day where I enjoy being with my husband Tom, hearing from our adult children and their families, touching base with friends, playing with our little dog Carly, and savoring the normalcy that to me is so essential, so comforting.

I want to be a “Pollyanna.”  You know, the foolishly optimistic person.  I am so hopeful, most of the time.  However, I am also realistic about things.  In fact, I have become very much a cynic when I hear all the news reports about crime against children, the elderly.  All the people who think they don’t have to work for a living, who think they don’t have to be kind, or even observe the things you learned in kindergarten.  Remember Robert Fulghum defined the parameters.  Such as share everything, play fair, don’t hit people, don’t take things that aren’t yours, say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody, clean up your own mess, live a balanced life.  And perhaps the most important lesson that seems to be ignored is: When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.”  We must stick together.  

I want to celebrate every life moment—birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, any milestone big or small.  Any reason to be happy about the right here, right now.  One of my favorite anonymous quotes is this: “Don’t wait for things to get better.  Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now, otherwise you’ll run out of time.”  

I keep coming back to the book, “Four Thousand Weeks:  Time Management for Mortals.”  The premise is that if you live to be 80, you’ll only live 4,000 weeks.  This certainly puts into perspective that life is fleeting.  We go through our life ignoring that fact.  It’s only when we’re on the downside of life, you know, many decades along, do we realize that life is not a dress rehearsal and there are no do-overs.  

So, go watch a Hallmark movie that is sure to have a happy ending, re-read a favorite book that inspired you and left you with a good feeling, hug your significant other, indulge in a favorite dessert, take a walk and savor all that nature offers, do something nice for your neighbor.  Remember this, another favorite anonymous quote: “A positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”  Hope you have a happy weekend!  

Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her a bbrown@olemiss.edu.