I keep reading that people my age (25-ish) are a selfish, egomaniacal, socially inept group of individuals with bad attitudes and even worse work ethics. As an unselfish, non-egomaniacal twentysomething with an excellent work ethic and whose social skills are in perfect working condition, I’ve been asking myself where all this animosity is coming from. I think I’ve found the culprit; it lands on your sidewalk every morning and is then lovingly brought into your home and given a place of honor on your kitchen table. This morning, mine screamed at me from the counter, ranting on and on about gerrymandering, a particularly iniquitous sexual abuse scandal, the plummeting world economy and the fact that my state is running out of water. In what I can only imagine was a last-ditch effort to lighten up the front page news, the editors also tossed in a fluff piece about Mike Modano retiring. Overall, not the best way to start the day.
I am not suggesting that the media shield us from the nastier bits of world news, but I am suggesting that we look a little deeper to find some good news, something positive, something that makes you laugh or piques your interest beyond how the most recent Wall Street schmuck is quietly siphoning off millions of dollars from investors. Because really, all the hate in the news gets turned right around and projected out into the world. Onto young people. Or old people. People of different races and religions. People with more money than you, or the people who have no money at all. I’m just as full of opinions as the next person but I’m not interested in discussing the political implications of illegal immigration or what-have-you, because at this point, there doesn’t seem to be any group that is safe from derision and ridicule these days. Which is why I want to bring you some things to be happy about.
• After a grueling, belligerently scalding summer, it is finally autumn. Autumn!! Fall is the cheeriest season, the season when you wake up to brisk mornings, shorter days and the promise that Halloween pumpkins and Thanksgiving get-togethers aren’t too far off. After the floods, hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes and tornadoes, I think everyone’s ready for a fall pick-me-up…I know I am.
• With fall comes the beginning of the new school year, and there’s something inherently uplifting about seeing kids pour excitedly out of the car in the morning and watching universities come back to life after a dormant summer vacation. The beginning of the school year was always my favorite, it means a fresh start, new possibilities, and it’s refreshing to see everyone come back to life each fall.
• It’s football season, people. Regardless of whether or not you actually like football, you simply cannot deny the infectious spirit that football season brings with it: The charged atmosphere on Saturday and Sunday, your neighbor’s alma mater flag whipping in the breeze out front, and the smell of jalapeno poppers permeating the air…And, as any football fan anywhere will tell you, this year is always the year.
• This time of year brings with it the return of outdoor activities. You lucky ducks up north know nothing of the extended summer hibernation that occurs down south (much like we know nothing of a true winter), but I’m here to tell you that people have been out in droves. There are 5Ks, beer fests, art walks…heck, go sit on a patio and soak up some of that waning sunshine. There’s so many scary things happening in the world that it’s important to take a couple of minutes every now and then to go outside, stand in the sun with your eyes closed, and just be happy.
• There’s a good chance that there’s a state fair not too far away. I adore the fair. For some people, it’s a scam that baits children and their scowling parents into spending exorbitant amounts of money on fried corn and meat on a stick. For the rest of us, it’s an excuse to be a kid again, eat some cotton candy, play a few games and forget about the woes of the world for an afternoon. It’s well worth the price of a ticket, even if you just go walk around for a while…You just can’t stay in a bad mood when surrounded by balloons, midway games and the smell of funnel cakes.
• This time of year has a very distinct smell…dried leaves, cinnamon, hot cocoa and chili. They say to sniff lavender if you’re stressed and citrus if you’re sad, but I say poo poo to the herbs and oranges. Open the windows and get cooking. Throw some cookies in the oven. Nothing (and I mean nothing) will make you smile quicker than the smell of cinnamon-y oatmeal raisin cookies baking in the kitchen. No excuses if you’re not much of cook, they make cookie dough now that does everything but bake itself. If you still can’t bring yourself to make cookies…well, go get a candle.
• Fall also means it’s my birthday, so maybe I’m a little partial. But happy birthday to me anyway.
Bottom line? Make a goal for yourself: No more anonymous tirades on the comment section of your news-site of choice. Refuse to read the front page until you’ve read the funnies. Start reading the funnies. Subscribe to a pretty but completely superfluous magazine so you get something nice in the mail every so often. Then go smell some cinnamon, walk around the fair and turn on the big game. You’ll feel better, I promise.
What’s your favorite thing about fall?