And Now, for a Little Good News
By Annabel Monaghan
Pullquote: Why wait till spring to start searching for green shoots?
While scrolling through Twitter this week, I read a tweet by a woman who is outraged by people who post good news. She feels as if, with the world in such a dark place and with all the loss we’ve suffered, it’s inappropriate to talk about good things that are happening. If things are going your way, she said, keep it to yourself. We’ve been warned: Post something upbeat and you’ll be unfollowed.
I didn’t comment on this post, because I’m not crazy enough to disagree with a stranger on Twitter. But I read through the dozens of comments from people who agreed with her wholeheartedly, and I just couldn’t believe it. To the core of my being, I believe we need to shine light on darkness, that in the depths of winter we need to search for the green shoots. But then the very next day, I was walking down the street feeling unusually excited about some good news I’d just received. The sun was shining, and my dog was favoring the correct side of the street. In that moment, life was perfect. But when I ran into an acquaintance and she asked how I was, I heard myself say, “I’m okay, we’re hanging in there,” instead of “I’m having the best day ever.”
So maybe on some level I don’t completely disagree with that cranky Twitter lady. I have gotten into the habit of reporting on the dark side. It feels like a way to safely connect with people around me. It’s possible that complaining has been confused for empathizing. Lately, my small talk leans toward how I’m flat out sick of cooking like I’m running a restaurant day after day. I don’t mention that dinner’s fun and actually tasted pretty darn good last night. Everyone is suffering in some way, and that’s how we’ve found commonality over the past year. Maybe it’s not prudent to shout “I got a job!” to someone who’s just lost their business.
But maybe in sharing small joys, we can help turn our collective eyes in a better direction. There are more vaccines coming. Someone’s wedding sounds like it’s a go. It’s not going to snow for the rest of the week. The self-checkout guns at the Stop N Shop are all working, and Tara at Arcade Books just made the best recommendation. I’m going to do a fun event at Wainwright House in April. Last, but not least, the kids are going back to school soon!
I, for one, appreciate any good news you can throw my way. Yesterday, I was walking my dog in the rain and he was not cooperating, and the snow had turned to slush and was seeping its icy tentacles into my sneakers. I was in the heart of darkness. My phone beeped with a text from a friend who has just relocated to another state: her daughter made a friend. And I’ll tell you it helped. Just that one happy, hopeful piece of news took my focus off my poorly dressed feet and my poorly trained dog. All I could think of is how wonderful it feels to have a friend.
I’m going to try and lead with the good news from now on and see if it makes a difference. Because, after all, spring does start this month, and there are multiple lights at the end of this tunnel. And to the extent anything worthy of tweeting comes up, I’m going to be okay with losing a follower.