Hanging on to the Light

Every morning I turn on my computer, check my email, log on to Twitter, and get sucked into a vortex of horrors. It’s been really hard to stay positive and hopeful lately. I know more than one person who’s found it hard to write because there’s a constant barrage of terrible news.

There are numerous studies like this one, that correlate hearing/reading/viewing bad news with a decrease in productivity and overall happiness. In other words, if you read bad news in the morning, it can keep you feeling down or anxious for the entire day.

I think I curate my social media pretty mercilessly. No auto follow backs. I will check out profiles and tweets before following. All retweets are off unless you’re someone I know and trust. I sort almost everyone into private lists, so that I can only view minor controversies when I have the mental stamina for it. A few weeks ago I installed Self-Control in my browser (because I have none) so I limit my social media time.

Regardless, when the world’s gone mad, you can’t avoid the world. I hear coworkers talking about T*mp in the lunch room, or in the desks across from mine, at the next table when I go out for coffee. CNN is on the TV when I walk into the kitchen to get TV at work.

But the opposite of despair is hope.

Sometimes I fall into despair because it feels like I have no control over my life or the world. Finding something small I can do can give me back one fresh breath of air to suck on before I go under again.

Today my one tiny first action was to make a list of all the things I can do to help make the world better, now and in the future. It was just a list of possibilities, but by their nature, all possibilities are hopes.  Now I have a plan, a direction to move in, a light to turn my head towards. It’s a small step, but it’s going somewhere.

Sometimes you only need to wedge the door open, so that a little light can spill through.  It doesn’t take much to let the hope in.

So I hope you scrape, claw, write, your way back to hope, because every small step is still a step towards something new. There are still things worth fighting for. I still have hope.

(And when you do find that light again, it’s time to get to work)

Additional reading: 

  • Productivity in terrible times. “All of our work is capable of enabling righteous acts.”
  • Small Protests via Kristan Hoffman “Art reminds us of our humanity. Art broadens our humanity. Because art strengthens our empathy.”

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