In this day and age, we are more connected than ever, but not to each other — to our phones. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing good left in this world. No one can deny that the days of blissful ignorance are gone and in their place has come a whole lot of stress. But it doesn’t always have to be this way! That is why I am going to be doling out a daily dose of optimism on my online zine www.happyguysmiles4you.com where every day I’m going to be posting a little spark of positivity to help you relax, even if it’s just for a second. You’ll also notice that on the site are a couple spots where you donate as much as you want to help me keep bringing my positivity to you. Before we get started, I have to give a big thanks to The Muhlenberg Weekly for letting me use their platform for my first prescription of optimism; you’ll be able to follow the rest on my website. So here it is, the very first dose of optimism to get you away from all the stresses of the world.
Stop and smell the roses because nature brightens your day!
And that’s all it takes to forget for just a second. No reason to think about injustices, hate or the environment. Oh yeah, the environment; I guess you should value nature sooner rather than later because the planet is deteriorating at such a rapid pace. You’ll only be able to smell the roses for the next 15-20 years before the planet suffers irreversible damage due to human influence and hubris. We as a species have known about the effects of greenhouse gases and the rapid decay of the earth since the 50’s, and yet we have still somehow found ourselves here. How could we have allowed this to happen? I guess this isn’t the best start to a positivity zine, but I won’t let the environment ruin my zine the way we have ruined it. Which is why I have a new dose of optimism to hopefully make you feel better about all of this.
Take the time to recycle and do your part for the environment.
Nothing feels better than taking time to do something good and really make an impact. If every one of us throws away litter when we see it, then we can make a huge difference for the environment. Well, maybe not a huge difference, because what are the chances that everyone does that? And even if everyone did, what would that do? Over 70% of the world’s pollution comes from less than 10 companies, so a stray Pepsi can won’t actually matter. What can we do that would matter when a select few are destroying the planet? No, we live in a democracy where the people matter. So here’s my new helpful tip.
Call your representatives and make your voice heard.
This country was founded on the idea that the people have the power and nothing can change that. By taking part in our political system, you can feel proud to be an American and hold your head up high knowing that you are influencing our society for the better. Except I can’t really think of a recent time that has happened. I mean, think about this past election, the person with the most votes is not the president. Or even just think about the issue of gun control; did you know that over 90% of Americans believe there should be universal background checks? Except gun lobbyists like the NRA have spent over 50 million dollars in the past 5 years to make sure that government officials care more about them than the American people. I mean, it’s obvious that those with the most money have more influence on the government than any of us ever could. I mean, this is bad. It’s honestly a lot, because what do you do when the people in power have used the broken system for self-gain and clearly have no regard for the people they are supposed to be looking out for? No, this is what we were supposed to get away from, the weight of it all is just too much. Which is why I’m gonna change my advice to this.
We are in the golden age of TV and movies, watch something good to distract yourself.
Right as I typed it, I realized that the vast majority of the biggest content being made right now is owned by one company. And that company is constantly making efforts to consolidate its power and keep smaller content creators from succeeding while they pay government officials to let them do this. It is honestly absurd that Disney could buy 20th Century Fox; that is a monopoly by definition and the government didn’t even pretend to look into it. But hey, at least there’s a lot of great smaller movies and TV shows available on streaming. So…
Take advantage of streaming platforms to find content that speaks to you and you connect with.
But what’s even the point in doing that? In a couple months CBS, Disney and NBC will have all their stuff exclusively on their streaming platforms; it’s just gonna be cable again but online. And sure, Amazon Prime will be fine, but that’s the biggest company in the world; you feel like an ass for supporting them. Forget streaming, there’s got to be something else.
How about try supporting individual artists with your money?
Except you’re still just a person and outside of everything else going on you still have to survive. I mean, almost everyone reading this is leaving college with an impossible amount of student loans debt with degrees in oversaturated markets that wouldn’t pay well anyway. So it’s a great idea to support individual artists, but we have to eat and keep up with bills and so many people just aren’t in positions to do that. For christ sakes, the cost of living keeps going up while a dollar is worth about the same as it did 20 years ago if you factor in inflation. So if you can’t do that then at least…
You can support people non-financially through social media!
Social media has been great for sharing ideas and providing voices for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to find support. Also, traditionally marginalized people have a space to share their stories and find like-minded people. But what’s that worth when Facebook allowed Russian interference in the election and Twitter lets Nazis just run wild and Instagram & Tumblr try to police women’s bodies. What is any of the good worth when there is so much bad? You know what, here’s the advice!
Detox from everything, just stop with all media and try your best to live.
If you don’t know any of the awful things going on constantly, then it can’t stress you out. If you do nothing than none of your actions can negatively impact the world. Just live in a hut on a mountain and forget about the world until you die. That wouldn’t even work, though, because we already know that all this terrible stuff is happening so you feel irresponsible for stepping away, so there will always be that stress and guilt.
I guess just stop caring!
Right?!? Because what’s the point? There’s way too much happening constantly for you to care about all of it, so just give up and move on. Might as well live in defeat because it really seems like there’s nothing you can do about anything.
But that sucks because that’s what they want you to do. That’s just letting those in power win. They want you to be defeated and complacent because that’s the only way they get to keep abusing the earth, the people and their power. The system is built to keep you down so that those in power can remain in power and it sucks because there is so much pushing you into the mud, but all you can really do is keep trying to stand. Who knows if any of it does anything, but if you care and try you can at least feel good about that. So I guess the daily dose of optimism is…
Just keep trying and caring. It sucks and it’s hard, but at least you can maybe feel good about it.
I’m cancelling the zine.