Reasons to be cheerful.

Perhaps our future prospects fill us with gloom and we have a lot to feel gloomy about: the likelihood of losing our place within the European Community, despite, apparently, more and more people expressing doubts about that. (The European view appears to be that we as ‘a nation’ appear determined to rush to the cliff edge and tumble over it, though there are ways to avoid that. The consensus appears to be that we have lost our senses.) Will that cause hyper-inflation? A rush on medicines or petrol rationing? Who knows.

There are also worries about the state of the USA, the dominance of China, the situation in Syria and Palestine, the environment, the economy, and many others…

But in the midst of all the problems, I can see that there are reasons to be cheerful. So if you need reasons to be cheerful, here are a handful to ponder.

~ All of life progresses in small steps. Therefore every step forward is progress. One piece of litter bagged, one journey walked, one shopping bag re-used, one environmental product purchased, one purchase not made, a letter written, a visit made and enjoyed, and idea captured on the page, a good photograph. All such things as these make a difference.

~ These days, when we want to eat, we can, if we choose, reduce that process to about ten minutes. Meals come in all shapes, sizes and packages, for which I am grateful. We can’t recall how hard it was in the middle ages to procure enough to eat before actually wasting away. The lengthy processes of finding food, cleaning it, preparing, cooking and serving it was so protracted that those who ate regularly – a privileged minority – employed whole retinues to perform all the different tasks of food preparation, while the rest of us lived on a mess of small porridge leavened with the occasional apple or piece of turbot caught illegally from the Friar’s ponds and very likely eaten raw. We are very fortunate indeed that food is easy to come by.

~ In the UK we can still express our opinions freely without an oppressive degree of state control. Reading John Simpson’s three volumes of autobiography is a sobering reminder that innocent, kind, intelligent, brave people – often young people and students – die for the causes of freedom of association and freedom of speech. They do not deserve to die, and we would do well to remember what a precious gift it is, to live in a part of the world where expressing a view will not lead to arrest, detention without trial or summary execution.

~ Happiness is worth fighting for.

~ We can have fun, therefore I think that is what I will do, this year. Have fun, and thank my lucky stars that I still have the health to enjoy it.


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