I’m tired of hearing bad news. I also don’t want to fall into the overly optimistic trap of only acknowledging good news. That light in the tunnel could be good or bad. Reality is in that messy middle where the two mix.The mix hasn’t been very balanced, lately. Sometimes the best news is the paradox that some things don’t change while change remains a constant.
Thanks to my other main blog, PretendingNotToPanic.com, I daily get a dose of news items that are reasons to be “eager and anxious about the future.” The posts were originally daily, but lately the frequency has gone down because talk about politics has gone up. I try to find news that is based on data (something that is considered too dull to report, for some reason), and apolitical. It’s that apolitical part that’s shrunk the available articles to comment on. I may not post daily, but I do check the news daily (now only 6 days a week – Yay!). The research frequently ends with me shaking my head. Oh, what a weird world we live in.
There is good news. Renewable energy is becoming so successful that it is threatening entrenched fossil fuel industries, and kicking off their corporate immune responses. Adoption of electric cars, high-efficiency households, and a return to walking and bicycling means healthier living in many ways. The awareness of injustices around the world are initially bad news, but their exposure means wrongs are more likely to be righted. (See the Giraffe Heroes Project and Robert Teel’s blog for a series of topics.)
There is also bad news, and too much of it. Pick a topic: climate, food sustainability, pandemics, natural disasters, human disasters, finance, and of course, politics. They are juicy topics, things that are keeping many writers employed, or at least busy. But, as I said, I’m getting tired of bad news – and looking forward to good news, and reporting on it, too.
This blog is about personal finance. Thanks to the way the world and regulatory agencies work, it is best for me to write about personal finance by describing my finances. I continue to have my Litany of Optimism. It gets replayed every day, and usually more than once. So far, except for the almost accidental increase in my house’s value, most of the optimisms continue to be a litany, not news. I don’t want to bore people with echoes of unsubstantiated optimisms, so I don’t write about them much. Ironically, when I do write about good news, there’s a tendency for a backlash. Good news about a small improvement in revenues thanks to a new client has frequently been met with a larger reduction in revenues from existing clients, as if I don’t have time for both. Very frustrating, because I want to share good news.
I continue to be an apocaloptimist, someone who is optimistic that we’ll recover well from whatever apocalypse we’re headed towards. That will be a very messy mixed reality, but we are an adaptable species, even when it comes to having the species survive our own messes.
I hear something similar when talking to friends. Good news is cheered, but it is something that will benefit others and some other time. Solar energy, electric cars, warm and cozy houses, and improved human rights are things that will happen – in someone else’s life. Bad news, however, gets delivered on a personal basis. Furnaces and vehicles break down, and must be repaired, not replaced. Injustices must be endured. #Resist is great – on an abstract level. Resistance on a personal level is frequently painful and futile.
News has even changed how I greet people. Instead of “How are you doing?”, I remind myself to say, “Good to see you.” I’ve scared people by asking them about how they are doing. They want to respond, don’t want to lie, and can’t find a polite way out. Telling them that I am glad to see them starts the conversation with an honest compliment instead of a probing question.
One of the items on my Litany of Optimism is luck, good luck in particular. I can’t recall a success story or biography that doesn’t include a key moment of good luck, even if it was at birth. Luck can be enabled, but it can’t be planned. Luck has no guarantees, but it also has no limits. As one friend frequently points out, even a small piece of good luck can have amazing consequences, as long as it is the right good luck. Some people hope for millions by playing the lottery. I do. A few hundred thousand may not be enough to retire on, but it certainly alleviates a lot of ills, figurative and literal. A few tens of thousands, the amount some people spend on a new car, could change a life by getting someone out of homelessness, giving someone the right training for a career, keeping someone from spiraling into debt. A few thousand may do the same, but that begins to get closer to only helping those who are on the edge.
Evidently, I’ve had some sort of good luck. Amidst the repercussions of my Triple Whammy and a variety of other ills, I’ve managed to keep my house, fill my pantry, and have the time for at least one asset to appreciate (my house.) A series of repairs have helped maintain home and vehicle. Health issues may be temporary. The fact that I haven’t had worse luck has been good luck.
The planet’s, species’, and my news could use a major dose of good luck and good news for balance. I trust that it will happen, though I don’t know how, where, why, or when. Until then, I’ll continue to practice saying hello by saying that it’s good to see you. I look forward to greeting the good news the same way. Good news? It’s good to see you.