I don’t know about you, but the news lately has left me in a pretty dark mood.
The mass shootings, the Jan. 6 hearings, gas prices, inflation, hot weather causing problems around the world. Man, there have not been a lot of positives lately.
I was sitting outside the other evening waiting for our foster dog to stop eating leaves and plants and actually do his business when I considered that I could change my outlook. Instead of feeling that heaviness of negativity, how about I think of some positives? How about I focus on the things I love?
So that is what I did. I started thinking about the things I love and the things that make me happy. It was just the balm I needed, and something I will try hard to focus on in the future.
* I love my family. Simple one, right? My wife and kids and brothers, sister and father mean so much to me. I am especially excited about how my children are doing. My daughter is into her career as a teacher, something she always wanted to do. And my son has just taken a new job with the U.S. Forest Service in Alaska. I mean, how exciting is that? I can’t wait to visit. When the world looks bleak, family keeps me grounded and happy.
* Riding. And by that, I mean riding my motorcycle. If you think that is weird or dumb, you have never done it. Riding puts a smile on my face faster than an old Steve Martin album. I love the wind in my face and being out in it while I travel, not enclosed in a car. Riding has really helped me re-connect with my younger self, and I hope to do it for years to come.
* Music. Music has truly saved me many times. Terrible situations have been made tolerable through not only listening to music, but also writing and performing it. I can be in a terrible place in my head, go in and pick up a guitar and be out of that funk in a matter of minutes. Music is a true gift in my life, and in the lives of many, many others.
* Mowing the lawn. Seriously. I love to mow the lawn, especially now as we have a large yard and a riding lawnmower. Mowing the lawn gives me a chance to not only feel accomplished for doing something, but it is a great time to think about things. I find myself really examining my thoughts and feelings when I mow. I have even written a couple of tunes in my head while mowing.
* Friends. Sadly, as adults people seem to have fewer friends, and friends we don’t see as much. I am so thankful that my wife and I have a great group of friends and see them often. We love to go out to eat, talk and laugh around a bonfire, take trips together and throw some of the most ridiculously fun karaoke parties in the history of ridiculously fun karaoke parties. Having great friends is something I cherish in my life.
This is the tip of a large iceberg of things I love. I do plan to think about the positives more and not get bogged down by the swirling storm of bad news that sweeps us all up from time to time. In the end, the things I love are simply more important.
Brad Jennings is the editor of the Ogle County Life.