Tim Wood: Down On Negativity

I'm done with negativity.

It's something that's not easy to avoid these days. It's everywhere. It permeates our lives like an incubating virus, hiding inside otherwise innocent seeming words and phrases in everyday conversation, on the news and TV, in newspapers and on websites. And I'm not just talking about politics, world, national and local.

Although if leaders set the standard for the rest of us, no wonder. We have a president who revels in insults and name calling, who lies outright and whose entire world view seems to measure six foot two and 239 pounds. His administration's entire agenda appears to be based on negating everything his immediate predecessor did, rather than moving ahead in a positive way.

There I go – slipping into negativity. See? It's nearly impossible to avoid.

It seems all the podcasts I listen to dwell on nothing but negativity. The news, the commentary, the never-ending babble of voices on the whole range of the spectrum, political and otherwise, they're almost all wallowing in the same pool of pessimism, waving, splashing and screaming as if the sharks are circling – even if there are no apex predators in sight.

I've decided to ditch the podcasts, at least for now, and try to clear out some of my phone's storage. Time to turn to some music for a change.

In our daily lives as well, there's just a lot of negatives around. Sometimes it seems we are constricted more than opened up – and that can be taken in numerous way. There are physical restrictions we deal with every day – in a large scoop, limits on land and development, and telescoped down to the personal level, limits on our time and availability. In our personal relationships, in the way with deal with family and co-workers, our outlook on work, community and life in general, there's creeping negativity in it all.

It's sometimes hard to remain aware of day-to-day negativity. It can be secreted inside seemingly innocent comments or actions. The way something is phrased. Language works on multiple levels, so there's room for both misinterpretation and caginess.

Sometimes negativity can be positive. Like when it's used twice. Or when it focuses on something truly dastardly (see paragraph three).

Most of the time, though, it's a downer. Literally. It drags things to a level that is just plain wearisome and even mean. It assumes the worst in people, and unfortunately, these days that seems to be exactly the level people rise to. Or not.

So I'm done with negativity. It's time to accentuate the positive, as the song says, without, however, being too much of a Pollyanna. Yes, Washington is a mess, no matter how you look at it. But...the economy's great! We're more isolated internationally, sure, but hey, all we need is rugged individualism and a few tax cuts and the rest will take care of itself. Just think of anything negative as fake. It's what our president does. Seems to work fine for him.

No reason to go all negative on Rep. William Keating for not advancing the Monomoy boundary legislation. Let's just let ol' Boundary Bill be himself and not worry about what's going to happen to all the critters and shellfishermen who ply those waters. And just because the area's shoreline has been negatively impacted by erosion, doesn't mean we have to be as well. Don't think of it as sand being taken away from the shoreline. Think of it as sand added to the shoals in the harbor and bay, creating a fun challenge for weekend boaters. Nobody likes to see houses falling into the water, but everybody enjoys a chuckle when a half-million dollar yacht runs aground.

Sure the weather's been mostly lousy for the past several months, but that only makes the sunshine and warm temperatures more special! And you know, I think I'm going to figure out how to use my time more constructively this summer when I need to take a left turn, rather than just complaining about the traffic. Words with Friends, anyone?

Well, I feel better. Now if I can just figure out a way to spread the positivism, without totally losing my mind.