June 20th, 2024

Optimism for the future a healthier perspective

By Lethbridge Herald on January 7, 2023.

Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald

With a new year comes new resolutions. For some there is hope and others just more dread.

It’s easy to expect the worst from the world and our fellow human beings. If negativity could be bottled, someone would make a fortune selling the stuff because it’s so popular.

Just look at Twitter or even our Roasts and Toasts page, watch television, listen to people in grocery stores or restaurants or even just in your own neighbourhoods – I guarantee you’ll read, see or hear more malaise than positivity.

This attitude of constant, pervasive pessimism is destructive. It creates, encourages and spurs growth of a “can’t do” and “won’t do because it’s pointless” mentality. 

The success of humanity as a species has been on its ability to adapt, create and build. That takes optimism, not pessimism.

I personally abhor being around people who are constantly negative. It can be abjectly depressing, the time spent listening to others wallowing in their own pity party or professing hopelessness being time wasted I can never get back.

We all have issues in life and only we can deal with them and make something positive out of negative experiences. We have problems in this world that need to be addressed and rising to the challenge to tackle them is more productive than waving the white towel and giving up.

A game isn’t over until the buzzer sounds or in the case of life, the heart quits beating. And as long as we all have a heartbeat we have the capacity to show heart and move forward rather than slinking into a dark corner and waiting for death to point its bony finger at us and beckon us to fade permanently into oblivion.

Life is too short and precious to be perpetually pessimistic. And I don’t have the energy to deal with it from others in my life because I can be pretty down all on my own and was last year with my back issues which had my body saying loudly I’m not 18 anymore – a reality the brain still refuses to face (hence the reason I recorded a Beavis and Butt-head movie this week). 

While I can be as serious as anyone and have my own challenges to deal with, I would prefer to be upbeat – especially in public because it makes life more bearable.

If I want to be melancholy, I’ll watch the Chicago Bears play on Sundays if we have the misfortune of their game being on television – that’s enough for me in a week, thank you very much.

Nobody knows what the future holds so what’s the point of being depressed about it? We’re going to die anyway so we might as well enjoy life while we have it.

We don’t know what’s going to happen 10 seconds from now. Trust me, I know after slamming my forehead into the sidewalk at Nicholas Sheran Park the morning after Boxing Day. I should have gone to hospital but I figured I could get a lot of work done in the eight hours I might be spending in Emergency. 

So I put on my man pants and despite obvious concussion symptoms, I came to work. And honestly, I felt those symptoms for close to a week so I feel I dodged a bullet.

Despite the fact we have zero clue what the future will hold,  every year prognosticators try predict it because they are experts in one field or another. 

I don’t have a crystal ball and know I couldn’t pull the wool over the eyes of a neglected sheep so to make up predictions for this year would be tough without trusted assistance.

Enter Ben dog. 

Ben is an astute fella; he knows when I need to go for a walk – after all, he’s waiting  at the stairway wagging his tail every day at 5 a.m.

 He knows when I want a snack because he’s right beside me in the kitchen snooping in the pantry.

 And he knows cheese curds are my favourite because I always sneak them to him.

So I sat down with Ben, stared into his deep brown eyes, gagged on his doggie breath and began asking him questions with different snacks. 

If he went for the treat that I tossed onto a blanket, his answer  was ‘yes’. If he didn’t move, the answer was ‘no.’

Needless to say, I’m so very thankful Dylan bought the family a handheld carpet cleaner for Christmas because it could have come in handy with my little test.

I started off telling Ben about the Alberta political situation as we watched some veterinarian show on National Geographic. Clearly Ben wasn’t interested because he laid head on a pillow and dozed off. But when I said “cookie,” he emerged from his brief sleep and listened attentively.

“Will Alberta hold an election this year?,” I asked him as I waved a cheddar square at him. Before I could throw it, Ben had snatched it out of my hand and devoured the tasty morsel in one gulp. 

“Will the sun rise every day this year,” I asked him before tossing a curd into the air, Ben’s leap being a resounding “yes.”

“Will the Leafs win the Stanley Cup?,” I queried as I tossed some pet store healthy organic thing that in a past life might have been a parsnip onto the floor. Ben didn’t budge. He didn’t even look at the misshapen thing that I tried to pass off as a treat. He just stared at me with a look of utter disbelief on his face. 

So Leaf fans can once again forget about a parade down Yonge Street this year – at least for their team.

“Will Justin Trudeau win over all his detractors in western Canada?,” I asked, tossing a leftover spear of canned asparagus onto an ottoman. Clearly not.

“Will Trudeau leave it up to provinces to charge a carbon tax?” 

Either the answer is “no” or Ben isn’t a fan of headcheese, which I really find hard to believe. 

Maybe it was the mustard.

Holding out marrow bones  in left and right hand  I asked Ben who had the better chance of getting re-elected in Lethbridge – Shannon Phillips or Nathan Neudorf. He ate them both. 

And before risking a carpet-cleaning session, I asked my little labra-glutton one more question with the treat being a big chunk of garlic sausage:

“Will daddy dog win the lottery in 2023?” 

Before he could answer, Rio the shepherd – who I hadn’t noticed had wandered into the room – snatched it right out of my fingers.

I guess we’ll have to wait to find out the answer to that one.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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