In Search of a Good Whine
Well, son, who are we going to skewer today? Which group of misguided activist bozos are we going to lambaste? What ineffective and meddlesome government program are we going to lampoon? There is so much foolishness in the world that it is difficult to pick a particular topic for discussion sometimes.
Wait! I have a novel idea... why don’t we talk about what is right with the world today and leave the negative stuff for another time?
One of the things that I have always tried to make clear to you is that while the world is a sometimes brutal, irrational and unpredictable place, there is nevertheless much good in it. There is beauty everywhere and we need not overlook the good while trying to right the bad.
I wake up every morning, glad to be alive. I appreciate the life I have, my family, my health. Occasionally, I regret that time is slipping away and that I won’t be around to see what the world will be like in 100 years. There is so much potential in our world. There are so many things that each of us, as individuals, can accomplish.
I have always been forward-looking, not necessarily in the ‘visionary’ sense, but in that I always wonder what tomorrow, next week, next month, next year will bring. I have travelled quite a bit, but I want to see much more of the world. I want to go to Africa, China, Russia, India, South America -- all places I have never been. I want to learn more about so many things. I want to see what the inventions and discoveries of the coming decades will be. I want to share so much with you.
Conversely, whatever is over is over. Once something has passed, there is a very real possibility that I will never think of it again. Good or bad, it’s history. I’m more interested in what comes next.
I remember chuckling about a Cosmopolitan magazine survey years ago. It asked a number of questions about life-changing events that could happen to any of us. Each event had a numerical value attached, the more traumatic the event, the higher the number. The aggregate total of the individual scores indicated to the readers their personal stress level and what the ultimate effects of that stress might be. As far as I could tell, my totals indicated that I should be a step or two away from my premature demise. Virtually every stress-inducing event on the list I had experienced more than once. That was 25 years or so ago. I’m still here.
Hand-wringing and self-recrimination don’t cut it, son. If you know, in your heart, that you have always done your best, that you have behaved in a responsible, considerate fashion, why spend your precious time beating yourself up? There are plenty of others who will do that for you. And do you know how much time you should spend worrying about the malcontents and their vitriol? None. That is not to say that you should turn your back on others, even if they have hurt or disappointed you. I am simply saying that rarely is anyone solely responsible for any unhappy situation. Usually several people share the blame. Accept whatever responsibility you share for the situation, deal with it, then move on.
We have talked, you and I, about optimism and pessimism. In explaining the terms to you, I used respectively the clichéd ‘half full’ and ‘half-empty’ definitions. Look at any contentious situation. The optimist sees it as halfway to perfection, the pessimist as halfway to perdition. The optimist looks forward to life, the pessimist dreads it.
Does this mean that we should stumble through life with a vacuous smile plastered on our face, uncritical of anything, blind to everything bad that happens around us? Of course not. It means that stuff happens. Sometimes it’s our fault, sometimes not. Whichever the case, be confident in your abilities to deal with and ameliorate the situation and don’t be a pain in the backside to everyone around you. Whining has got to be about the least productive and most annoying activity of which any human is capable. Don’t do it. Like the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, I have this mental image of just one more person adding his personal whining to the collective cacophony of moans already pervading our universe and causing thereby the final cataclysmic event that exterminates us, our planet, our galaxy, the entire universe.
Now that’s something to be stressed about. It reminds me of the expression: “Not with a bang, but with a whimper.”
Sorry. Just couldn’t resist that one.
Yes, the world can be less than what we would like it to be. Just don’t whine about it!