Soapbox Viv Wigley: There's always a reason to be grateful if you think hard
ANTON Rippon's weekly musing ("Here's someone who's looking forward to a rubbish new year", January 2) had an uncharacteristically sombre flavour initially, as he welcomed in the new year with open arms and gritted teeth.
But, as we gear up for another year – desperately trying to shoulder our armour of optimism in the current gloom, both meteorological and economical – I bolster my morale with a few platitudes gained over the years.
I can never understand the fuss about celebrating a new year but, sadly, there are people who were raising a glass less than three days ago who now lie in a morgue – maybe victims of road accidents or some other tragedy.
I don't wait a year to celebrate the gift of life – I get out of bed every morning, look down at the ground and think, if I'm above it, it is a good day.
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Okay, there are many hurdles, climbs, dark clouds and demons to be faced in everyone's lives, including mine, but sometimes one needs to pause for a second and view life from a different perspective.
I remember showing my good lady (Black Belt, 3rd Dan in pessimism) a sheet of graph paper with one of the squares coloured in black.
I asked her what she could see. "A black square", she answered. "Yes," I replied. "But what about the hundreds of white ones?"
It's all about a point of view, really, isn't it? December 21, the shortest day, is when my brother and I meet at noon to raise a glass to the fact that, from then on, the days will get lighter and longer. It raises our morale.
In the same way, running an audit on one's life – totting up the problem bits and then counting the good things, however mundane – can result in the realisation we all have an awful lot that we often take for granted.
As appeals on television show, often we "complain our shoes hurt, until we see a man with no feet".
I long ago gave up those "what would you do if you won the Lottery?" dreams and no longer waste my time chasing that carrot.
As Anton rightly points out, the good deeds of others should not just be celebrated annually. We need to make them a daily event, a quiet revolution full of little victories. Global markets may cast a giant shadow but it is possible to run out and stand in the light.
So join me in being thankful for what little we may have, delighting in small things, seeking beauty in often the oddest places and remembering December 21 is National Look On The Bright Side Day when it should be every day.
Smile. Daylight and sunshine are coming – be ready.