I was sitting on my veranda this morning with my Lady Grey tea, and reading the local newspaper. I like to pass the time this way occasionally, although I probably don’t get much further than the community pages and the classifieds. I find that watching the local news channel once a week and reading a newspaper occasionally is enough to keep me going without overdoing it and becoming paranoid about being bombed or murdered in my sleep.
The 6 o’clock news is enough put me on Prozac, with its pessimistic, often dramatised, view of what is happening all around me. I understand that bad things happen to people, and bad people do bad things to others, but why does it have to be shoved in my face all the time? Because it’s newsworthy, that’s why. And people will, more often than not, be interested in the bad things that are happening in the world, just as long as it isn’t happening to them.
We are often left unaware of the good that is happening around us, in our neighbourhood, and all over the world, because it’s generally viewed as ‘uninteresting’ by the media. Bad news is reported often, and if one bad story is bad enough, repeatedly. This perpetuation of bad news creates a social expectation that there will always be bad news, and we become conditioned to it. Good news becomes a rarity, and one must be very lucky, or work very hard to achieve it – or so it would seem.
I think that there is more good out there than people think. We have become a little pessimistic in our expectations, with misery often pedalled by the media in more ways than would have been possible a half a century ago. Bad news certainly travels a lot faster these days, with the advent of the Internet and the social media that goes with it.
The world can be a miserable place if you want it to be, if you believe everything that you see and hear, but it can also be a revelation, if you look at it a little differently. It can be difficult at times, to look past the ordinary, the normal, and the accepted, to find something a little less ordinary, and sometimes even extraordinary. It can be anywhere, and if you look a little harder, it can be everywhere. The magic of just being alive, and to know how to live in the moment, makes every breath you take a reward. Breath it in. Concentrate. Feel the warm air passing through your mouth, feel the fabric of your clothes against your skin, the floor beneath the soles of your feet. The sunset from the veranda, and a clear sky at night, brilliant with diamond bright stars, suspended in a vastness impossible to imagine. A new day, the stillness of the morning air, heavy with the expectation of life.
It’s everywhere. Look around.