Wanted: more joy

 

highclere

AGMA has noted of late that my posts aren’t the light-hearted romps into absurdity that they once were when I started blogging nearly 6 years ago.

I’m pretty sure the change started on November 8, 2016.

And with each

  • mass shooting (#MassacreMitch’s once again sending his NRA inspired thoughts and prayers to Midland/Odessa…)
  • report of innocent children being ripped from their parents, caged and denied basic health care
  • hurricane/drought/deadly heat wave/flood event/tornado outbreak
  • environmental protection dismantled
  • edict meant to take protections/rights away from GLBTQ people/racial minorities/women/immigrants/the military/labor
  • ally alienated
  • enemy of America, democracy, and human rights embraced
  • conviction of criminals placed in high government positions
  • innocent person killed because of the color of their skin, their place of origin, their sexual orientation, their religion,

AGMA strays farther from the “very light-hearted” state of mind.

Add to that the normal “stuff” of living and I’ve been downright morose.

Plus, I gained 8 lbs since the beginning of the year and my normal “mammoth petite” clothes are too tight.

Sh*t.

“Mr. Fader, you sound like a real delightful guy!” to quote Roseanne Roseannadanna.

Two things this past weekend slapped me in the face like a cold sockeye salmon and screamed, “You REALLY need to figure out how to put some joy back in your life AGMA!!”

First was dinner with Son#2.

Now I need to say that Son#2 has always been a bit like Eeyore.  He has a touch of SADD, and likes living in Atlanta with all the sunshine in the winter months.  He’s not one who would be called a raging optimist.  Much like his mom.

Hubs and my discussion at dinner centered around:

  • our sadness at the banishment from seeing our grandchildren in the foreseeable future for reasons beyond our understanding (which we have been told is temporary, but we’ll see…)
  • the devastating effects of climate change and how more catastrophic storms like Dorian will be happening with more frequency (Hubs is a bit of a climate change expert.)
  • the book Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson that I had just finished to listening to on Audible.  It chronicled the migration of African Americans from the Jim Crowe South to northern and western cities between 1915 and 1970.  A long book and a very intense examination of the violence and systemic racism in both the South and North against African Americans.
  • the anniversary of Emmett Till’s murder in 1955.  He was a 14-year-old African American from Chicago visiting family in Mississippi.  His parents were part of the Great Migration.  He was lynched and his body desecrated in Mississippi on August 28, 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.

OMG…weren’t we just a barrel of fun?!?!

And Son#2 called us out on it.  He said, “Can we talk about something that’s happy?  You know, there has to be something happy we can talk about.”

For a moment, AGMA bristled.

“Sure,” I thought, “Let’s just pretend that none of this injustice and corruption and sadness is in the world and we’ll act just like everything is just peachy dandy, and ignore the assault on humanity that is going on all around us.”

AGMA has been known to be a bit dramatic…

We changed the subject and started talking about fluff.

But it made me think.  Is there a way to hold both the righteous anger that comes from injustice assaulting us on so many different fronts, and the simple joy and delight in living?

Clearly AGMA has not been doing a very good job at that.

Second, I heard a piece on NPR about research study that concluded that optimistic people lived longer.  And that optimism can be taught to a certain extent.

Cha-ching!

I need a course in Optimism 101!

Maybe I need to sign up for Optimist International?

This weekend, after realizing that I DID need to do a better job of finding my joy, I took definitive steps.

I started watching….

Wait for it….

The Downton Abbey marathon that was on PBS this weekend!

Nothing says cheer up like the Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess telling her American DIL, Cora, played by Elizabeth McGovern, “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again.  When I’m with her, I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.”

I tuned in and out of it the entire weekend.  I managed to see the very first episode on Saturday and the last episode in Monday with a number of episodes in between.

I was in my happy place!

Keep in mind we have all of the seasons on DVD.  But I would never think of watching them sequentially.  That would just be crazy.  Watching them as I had time during the weekend seemed less like I was wasting my day staring at the TV, and more like I was becoming reacquainted with old friends in bits and pieces.

Only in the mind of AGMA…

And to make things even better, the DA movie comes out in the US this month on September 20th!

Son#2, who normally would poo poo the idea of something like Downton Abbey, said that a number of his friends, to his amazement and surprise, couldn’t wait for the movie to come out.   He was actually considering seeing it.

I told him I would be happy to loan him our DVD’s of all 6 seasons so he could get caught up with the 52 episodes he missed.

At which point his eyes rolled back in his head…

Then we laughed.

While we shouldn’t, we absolutely can’t, ignore the big things that are assaults on our fellow human beings and our Mother Earth, we also need to recognize and embrace the little joys that come into our life in unexpected ways.

AGMA promises to try to find more joy and happiness in the little things that move my heart and spirit, and turn those moments into a deep reservoir of hope.

And more light- hearted posts.

I promise!

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “Wanted: more joy

  1. I so get it. There are days that start with hope, and then I make the mistake of reading the headlines on my phone before I’m even out of bed. Big mistake. Makes it hard to get out of bed at all. But, everything’s better with Maggie Smith. You’re definitely onto something there!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! Thanks! Actually, I saw the Downton Abbey movie last night so I’m feeling pretty good today (managed to avoid listening to the news!) It was a lovely move, but a bit bittersweet (no spoilers though.). If you go, take a tissue!

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  2. When I met my first person from Fort Lee, NJ once, I actually intoned, “Mr. Feder, you sound like a really attractive guy!” The person just rolled her eyes. Hey, I was all of 20, as I recall. No regrets.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, AGMA. I’ve continued to see that patented silliness of yours in every post. We can’t control the times in which we live, but we can offer our mirth. You still do that very well.

    We’re awaiting Dorian’s passing tomorrow where we live (hopefully far, far, FAR out in the ocean from our shoreline. So, yeah, we’ve had some serious climate change talks during our tea breaks in the last few days. It’d be nice to elect officials who stop denying its effects already. I’m looking forward to the Downton movie also; son #2 won’t have a clue, though, if he doesn’t watch the episodes first. He can roll those eyes all he wants! – Marty

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    • Thanks for the encouragement Marty! And again, glad Dorian passed you by! And guess what?? I saw the DA movie last night! For some reason there was a fan viewing event last night. Theaters all around Altanta had a 7 pm advanced preview. Kinda weird and random, but we jumped on the tickets and were transported to 1920’s England last night! It was bit predictable (we guessed some of the plot twists) and being a movie format, some of the story lines weren’t given the proper time to develop (felt a bit rushed) but that’s the nature of the beast. Wonderful costumes and sets and a delightful romp with old friends! And Maggie Smith was on fire with her zingers! But take a tissue I you see it. Even Hubs said he got a lump in his throat…

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    • Thanks so much for your encouragement. And exercising does help! I developed a good sense of humor for survival purposes when I was young and it has served me well. Todays post was a bit lighter… (but still not completely tRump free darned it!) Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • To make a long story short – I wrote about my loony neighbor and her teenage son, who threatened me for pulling vines off my side of the fence. I didn’t mention names, of course, but I did post a picture of something suspicious that the neighbor hung on my fence overnight, and she got upset and must have said something to one of her friends, who then left a series of increasing nasty comments on the post. The dummy used her real email address and then tried to follow me on Facebook (using her actual own Facebook log-in), and also tried to follow me on Twitter. On advice of my in-house lawyer, I took down the post, deleted my neighbor’s friend as a follower, and banned both my neighbor and her friend from my Facebook and Twitter pages,. I now vet my new followers carefully in case they return.

        (Who would have thought that someone I might actually know would read my blog? And would recognize themselves? I’m very careful not to use names or identifying personal information and try never to photograph other people or their property.)

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  3. I had to turn off the morning news and watch the weather station or a cooking show to maintain a bit if sanity. It all just seems so overwhelming.

    Now, I do still read newsworthy articles but rather than let them bombard me randomly via broadcast tv or social media I seek out glimpses of headlines in various outlets.

    But the days of turning on the news at x time per day out of habit…I just can’t handle it anymore. I had trouble sleeping which made my tripping through the world in sleep-deprived state even worse…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes indeed – sleep deprivation just makes everything look much darker. And like you, I’m trying to take more control over what I “let in”. I will read thoughtful, well researched pieces – both news and opinion. It seems to make things a bit more sane. Still, I worry for our future and that there are so many people who have allowed their souls to be destroyed by the evil in the Oval Office and his minions. It really does seem like a cult doesn’t it?

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  4. My husband would often get depressed and overwhelmed with life. We would watch the “Pink Panther “. It never disappointed us. Soon we’d be laughing our fool heads off.

    I have to admit, I have been sharing your same feelings. I think it’s time for me to turn on some “Pink Panther” once again.

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  5. I so get it. I stopped writing when I realized that the majority of my posts were doom and gloom (thanks to the issues you listed above as well as the stress of my rollercoaster life). I’ve heard (repeatedly) that your focus creates your reality – so now I’m trying to focus on things that make me smile – such as the fact that Mike Pence was greeted by a gay disco protest in Ireland https://www.out.com/news/2019/9/04/mike-pence-greeted-gay-disco-protest-ireland . Now I’ll have to try some Downton Abbey

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    • I agree! I’ve gravitated to those making a mockery of the clowns in DC. Love the Irish protest and the fact that the president of Iceland and his wife wore rainbow bracelets when they met him. And I LOVE Randy Rainbows YouTube stuff! And the baby Trump balloon is classic! All the of sharpie pictures that people did were also classic (although that whole sharpie altering thing and then getting NOAA to back up his lie was very distrubing). It’s all something that should be a Saturday Night Live skit and not real life!!

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  6. Hi AGMA. I sure understand how global weirdness is an undertow at present. Rage, rage against babies in a cage! I love that you are looking for more JOY cuz I, too, am in that sitch. I just joined a CHOIR at our local community college — it starts next Monday night — to try and sing my blues away, use my vocal muscles so my blab does not turn to flab. (Amazing how even the voice can thin-out like hair). I’ll let you know how it goes. Also volunteering for Fairytale Theatre where aged folks interact with the day care kids in modernized fairytales at our local nursing home. Amazing place, Mt. St. Vince. They have national acclaim for how the aged interact with the young instead of simply warehousing the old and segregating them from the young. So far, so good. I may contribute a script. But I am initial stages of learning there — my mentor has me gathering the elders to the room, taking notes of what I observe, which helps her out. As far as new Downton Abbey goes I hear the new one has funny moments. I love Maggie Smith too. Keep bein’ your funny self, AGMA!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think you’re on to the antidote… Put yourself out there and get involved in things that make a difference! Bravo! It’s interesting, I’ve read about several assisted living situations that are mixing their residents with young children. Both of my sons went to a pre-school that was in an assisted living community. I mean, they built in the facilities for the pre-school (with kid sized bathrooms) when they built the assisted living building. 34 years ago!! Yes – this is not a new idea… The residents could come down and watch the kids through big windows and at certain points in the day, they could come in and mingle. 34 years ago!! I’m pretty sure that was one of the reasons I selected that pre-school. So I’m all over that Fairytale Theater concept! Did you see the DA movie? Yes – there were funny scenes!!

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