Positive New Year, by Lorie Sheffer, Guest blogger

photo of happy snowman cupcake
Happy snowman cupcake (made and photographed by Lorie Sheffer)

As the New Year approached, I decided to do a little experiment. I wanted to focus on, and be aware of, the day to day negativity I encounter, and make an effort to avoid those sources whenever possible.

The first overt negative message arrived via Facebook on January 2. Disguised in the form of a “joke”, it borrowed an image of a cranky, elderly lady who I believe is the property of a well-known greeting card company. It was a rambling commentary, complete with quotes of a former US President, complaining about “lazy” people on public assistance. I’ve seen such posts before, ranging in commentary on time frames for immigrants having to learn “our” language (America doesn’t have an official language, by the way) or leave the country to “jokes” about people with accents. (Most of the doctors responsible for saving my father’s life had heavy accents, and I am beyond grateful they were not deported because of that.)

I am thankful that there is a delete option I can use for such drivel, while still being able to catch up on births, engagements, photos of grandkids and holiday celebration. When I say “holiday”, I am not “taking the Christ out of Christmas” as some would suggest. I mean “holidays” as in Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Passover, Memorial Day…….

I saw a bumper sticker calling our President an idiot. I saw one making a profane statement that I can’t even repeat, out of respect for Jeff’s blog.

Turning on talk radio programs I never listen to, I heard hateful tirades for the sake of ratings. The TV is filled with glamorous, wealthy housewives calling one another horrible names and sometimes even throwing punches.

Today I am only 4 days into my vigil on negativity and I am already shocked by how much of it I am exposed to every single day. If I see it, then surely it must be out there for everyone else, too. What affect does this have on us? For some, it may be depressing. For others, it may cause anger. The affect is has on me? I feel a sense of pity. I choose to avoid it and those whose message is one of gloom and doom. I’d much rather walk in the bright sunshine than to drag around a cloak of darkness.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.