The type of world events that have recently made the news are more than capable of completely sucking the life out of you. So much hatred. So much conflict. So much violence. Enough of each, it seems, to last several generations. All of it could make a jaded recluse out of even the most cheerful and outgoing optimist. It could, but it doesn’t have to.
Scottish band The Marmalade beautifully summarized the indomitable will to live during turbulent times in their 1969 hit single “Reflections of My Life:”
The world is a bad place, a bad place
A terrible place to live, oh but I don’t wanna die
Of course we don’t want to die. We want to stay alive, to feel, to discover – regardless of how bleak things look around us. But in times like these, it really does require a purposeful redirection of our focus to avoid getting dragged down by the constant barrage of gloom and doom.
So if we are to avoid focusing solely on the catastrophic and, some would argue, apocalyptic, events of today, toward what should we instead direct our attention? What could possibly serve as a positive and worthwhile distraction from all that which steals, kills, and destroys? The answer, my friend, is right there next to you.
Our loved ones, be they our family or our friends, are where we should look for our comfort. They are where we find a renewed sense of comfort. They are the ones who allow us to rediscover the fleeting peace of these troubling times. Focus on them. Divert your time and attention to them. Shower them with your affection, knowing full well that your time together is short-lived.
It is nearly impossible to avoid updates on the latest bombing, genocide, or political dispute. With modern media, we really can’t hide from those things. But we can choose who and what will receive the majority of our time, energy, and attention. When the world is mean, I choose to focus on those who mean the world to me.