Card Talk: Finding joy in 2020

Charlie Card snuggles with her new sister, Emmie Rae, after meeting her for the first time this week.

It’s been said by many people that the year 2020 is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. And it hasn’t been just one thing — we’ve been getting hammered over and over again.

When we’re getting bombarded day after day with troubling news, it can be extremely difficult to keep a positive outlook on life. In fact, there are reports of many people experiencing elevated mental health conditions associated with COVID-19. Some experts have gone so far as to declare it a mental health crisis.

I have mentioned before — and many would agree with me — that it’s crucial we find a way to disengage now and then from all of the negative news. Instead, we should look for the joy, those positive things to give us hope that this too shall pass and that one day, hopefully not too far into the future, our lives will regain some semblance of normalcy.

I experienced some of that joy in my life this week with the birth of my second grandchild. Emerson “Emmie” Rae Card was born on Nov. 16 in Panama City, Fla., joining 19-month old sister, Charlie.

I have to admit, it’s pretty hard to focus on the doom and gloom of the world when you’re looking into the face of a newborn child. In fact, it’s pretty hard to focus on anything else — my co-workers will attest to that. As new pictures or videos have come in on my phone these last few days, my work would get set aside for a few minutes as I marveled at this new life, so full of hope and promise.

It doesn’t take a major event like this to shift our thoughts away from all the troubling things happening around us. As I’ve said before, sometimes all it takes is to step out into nature and marvel at the beauty around us.

There are those who would argue that it makes no difference — the troubles of the world are still there, and taking your mind off them won’t change that. People may also say someone like myself is choosing to ignore the reality around me.

Describe it how you will, but I have learned that my attitude toward life can make all the difference. I’m not always successful at shutting out the negative stuff — it’s difficult to do when we are so plugged in with today’s technology — but I find that when I do, I just feel better, both physically and emotionally.

So I’ve decided to make an early New Year’s resolution this year — strive to always focus on the positive, not the negative. I invite you to join me.

Speaking of today’s technology, one of the huge benefits for me is that I can stay in touch with my granddaughters (and their parents), as well as other members of my family who all live a long distance away. I’m quick to pull out my phone and share the most recent photos.

I admit to having more than my share of grandfatherly pride, although I must confess, it isn’t just my chest swelling with pride that has placed a strain on the buttons of my shirt these days — overeating during the COVID lockdown has definitely been a factor, too. But that’s a New Year’s resolution I’m saving for later.


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