Four things that make me happy

I grew up reading the news. My local newspaper was slight in size, but I started reading the paper from front to back at a relatively young age. I loved baseball and football, so I obviously made my way to the Sports Page, but I read the rest of the paper too. The topic didn’t matter, a local business opening up, another closing, the local school board considering a change to the school calendar. I sucked it in all in, in large part because I loved being in the know.

photo-of-woman-showing-frustrations-on-her-face-4458420I can’t say that I feel the same about the news today. The news in 2020 has been bleak to say the least. The Coronavirus pandemic (with 550,000 deaths worldwide  and more than 134,000 in the U.S.) has dominated headlines. If it’s not the Coronavirus, it’s been the terrible state of race relations.

The news has been so depressing that I’ve had to put it down. I suspect the news has depressed me in part because I know people who’ve been severely impacted by COVID. I’m not sure, but I’ve stopped reading the various news outlets that I used to read online. In addition, I’ve had to give social media a break. I find anymore that it has more to do with friends fighting over wearing or not wearing a mask. I’ve become so tired of the childish playground politics that I’ve decided to go on a strike so to speak.

No more news or social media. If I have given in, then at least in smaller chunks of time. In the process, I’ve been on a search for good and have created my own little gratitude journal.  With that being said, here’s four things that have made me happy this week:

baseball-4182179_640–Go Team! Like most things, sports have been hit hard by the pandemic. I have little hope that any of the college or professional sports will be around long this year, but I’ll take what I can get. The NBA and NHL look like they’re going to try to finish up their seasons. The MLB appears to be getting underway even in abbreviated season and the NFL looks like it might have a season in the fall. Sports are small in the grand scheme of things, but I can’t help but think of the old ABC Wide World of Sports intro. “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is “ABC’s Wide World of Sports!” Yes, when everything else is going down the tubes, sports still manages to show us the best and worst of life. I’ll take whatever I can get.

68178E82-B1C5-41F1-BE04-82EB0DAE9BFD_1_201_a–See Spot run. I’ve written in the past about our dog. They say that dogs are man’s best friend. I’m not sure about that, but it’s not far off. When I’m under stress, when I’m down, our dog, named Nittany, knows. I hear a lot of talk in business books about the value of Emotional Intelligence. Nittany is not the brightest dog in the world. She’ll bark long after the Amazon or UPS truck has come and gone up our street. She’ll growl and puff out her chest at bigger dogs that would have her for breakfast. She’s short a few marbles, but she knows when you need a friend. When I’m at my weakest, she’ll come up and lay her head on my leg as if to say “cheer up friend.” If I need a laugh, she’ll do something silly, like fall off the couch. She just knows how to make the mood better. Yes, she’s a great friend. “A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” –Josh Billings.

hug-2054837_640-Taking back control. We have to wear masks when we go out. Many states are now limiting the number of people who can get together. We control little in our lives. Or do we? It hit me the other day that I still control my reactions. I can be happy or sad. I can deal with adversity or I can mope about how my plans have changed. Yes, it may not be the way I want, but I still control how I respond and I’m choosing to look for the positive.

–Bright sunny days. There’s nothing like a bright sunny day to get you in a good mood.

That’s all, that’s it, just four random things that turned my glum day into a good one. They remind me something a good friend used to say all the time, that you should always smile because you never know what struggles or challenges the person you pass in the hallway or sidewalk might be going through. With that advice in mind, I hope these four lighten whatever burden you’re carrying and leave you feeling happier inside.

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