Normally I’m a pretty optimistic person. I like to see life as an adventure just waiting to be had. But recently I, like the vast majority of humanity, have been pommeled by a plethora of pfft. From America’s sinking economy, to England’s riots, to the wars in the Middle East that have lasted forever and show no sign of stopping, this world has been a pretty cruddy place to live in lately. And I figure if I’M feeling blue, with my usually sunny look on life, plenty of other people are probably on their way to deep purple by now. So I’ve pulled up my bootstraps (I do love combat boots), and decided to count down my personal favorite top ten of the many good things we still have going for us.
#10 – Space Exploration
Not too long ago, NASA was officially decommissioned by the government. And everywhere people wept for the loss of their ideal Roddenberry-esque vision of the future. Of course, the Russians are still in space, which is good for humanity as a whole (since Russians are, you know, people), but beyond that I knew that this was actually good news for America too, and lately I have been proven right!
Muahahahaaaa!I was RIGHT!
*Ahem* ANYway, my first thought was, now that space flight is no longer under the government’s radar, private companies will get in on the deal. And really, what’s the number one motivating force in America? You got it. Profit. So… now that companies can make money on space exploration, do you think they’ll just let that sit? Nope. And they haven’t. Everyone from Seattle’s Space Needle to Boeing to a company called SpaceX have begun getting in on making the present much more science-fiction… y, and now that they’ll make money at it, do you really think they’ll stop at the moon?
Even NASA isn’t down for the count. Now that they’re no longer tethered to the government, the space-exploration giant is planning bigger, better, and deeper excursions into space than ever before.
The end of an era? Hardly. Say hello to Science Fiction becoming Science Fact, folks! It’s gonna happen… and soon.
#9 – Environmentalism
Say what you will about humanity’s ability to take care of our Mother, we’ve gotten a lot better at it over the years. In fact, since 1970 when The Environmental Protection Agency was formed and people began to really notice and care about our environment, the Earth has gotten steadily healthier. Regulations on water, air and land quality have kept everyone from individual campers to multi-billion dollar corporations on their toes, and it has paid off. According to The Environmental News Network, “In the year 2010 alone, clean air regulations are estimated to have saved over 160,000 lives.” That’s good news, no matter how you look at it.
Now, I’m not saying the Earth is as healthy as it was before the Industrial Revolution — that will take a lot more time — but I am saying it’s healthier than it has ever been since. And that’s something to be happy about, if anything is.
#8 – Individuality
We’re all different. Lately we’ve been more and more prone to accepting that fact in ourselves and in others. In fact, since the 1980’s there hasn’t been any one specific style to describe a decade, be it the 90’s, the 00’s, or the 10’s (which, of course, we’re still in, but whatever). That is because there are so many more different kinds of styles than ever before, and they are all pretty equal in scope of use. Sure, there are still people who feel they have to pretend to be who they aren’t to “fit in”, and those annoying neighbors who work hard to “keep up with the Joneses”, but that’s all heading out of style pretty fast, with each generation being more free to express their own individuality than the last. I believe the advent of the Internet sparked this change in attitude, as social media sites, vlogs, blogs, forums, and print-on-demand publishing have all given a lot more power to the people, instead of traditional media, to decide what’s cool and what isn’t, and the latter is turning out to be a very small percentage indeed.
After all, if you can talk to millions of people online who think cone hats are as cool as you think they are, why should you care that your sister’s boyfriend’s mother disagrees? You’ll wear that cone hat proudly, thank-you-very-much, and be exactly who you are because you can be.
And while we’re at it…
#7 – The Internet
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. There are bad things online. But there are bad things everywhere, really, and honestly always have been. Of course, the big difference is that it’s way easier to find now. True. But that can also be said of the good things.
And there are plenty of good things you can find online. Here’s a short list:
- Educational Research from Trusted Sources.
- Fun videos that you can share with you friends, family, and even (once you have watched them first), your children.
- Information to help you achieve your dreams (case in point, this.)
- Classic Books. (YAY!)
- Classic Artwork. (Also YAY!)
- Information on your favorite movies, TV shows, and Actors/Actresses.
I’m sure you could add a million more bullets to this list. Like many other things in this world, the Internet can be good. It all depends on how you look at it.
#6 – Pets
I mean, really. Look at how cute they are. They make me smile just looking at them. If I didn’t believe in God already, the loving gaze of a little doggy would certainly convince me. Seriously. We have pets. And they make life happy. Really, it’s as simple as that.
#5 – Music
I have a lot of friends who are music-crazy. My fiance’ is one of them. I, myself, am much more of a literati, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the experience of listening to a beautifully composed piece of music. I’m also quite the karaoke fool. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed reborn Mozart / Kurt Cobain or just like to listen to your iPod as you take a stroll around the block, I don’t know anyone who can argue against the fact that music is a beautiful part of being alive.
#4 – Art
“Smoke and Mirrors” – H.A. Crichton (Click on image to go to artist’s site.)
Art has been called the soul of humanity, and I don’t doubt it. For myself, I can’t do visual art to save my life (check out my cartoon of “The Elementals”… oi), but my sister and my illustrator have both shown me in their works what it means to be a true artist. The beauty and majesty of great works of art take one’s breath away. As long as art is being created, humanity will continue to thrive.
#3 – Books
Yeah. You knew I was going to go there, huh? But really, next to art and music, the creation of literature is the end-all and be-all of being human. It is in storytelling that we capture the human condition completley and share it with others who then cherish and share the stories for generations. Plus, I did say BOOKS, not just FICTION. Before computers, books were where we stored all of our most trusted and important information for centuries. I mean, seriously, books just rock. Period.
#2 – Love
(Me and my wonderful fiance’)
There are a lot of different kinds of love. From the love of a good friend to the love of one’s self to family love to, of course, romantic love, love is a wonderful feeling that makes you happy. True, sometimes it’s because of love that we suffer (losing a loved one to death, divorce, etc), but even then we are suffering for a good reason… something that matters. In the end, love is good.
And I, for one, want to acknowledge that fact.
#1 – Kids
Watch children play. Listen to them laugh. Just try not to laugh with them. That is our future… if we don’t mess it up. As the saying goes, “children are God’s way of telling humanity that we haven’t messed up too bad… yet”.
Agree or disagree with me all you want, but these are the reasons I still smile while greeting a new day. I hope they made you smile a little, too. 🙂
(Note: Most of these links go outside of my blog, to sites that are not owned by me. Most images are also tagged to the site where I found them, unless they are mine. I do not own the rights to any of the ones to which I have linked, nor do I claim to. Thanks.)