Present Tense

Geez, why so angry?


I wrote this well over a year ago, hoping that it was merely a moment in time; that people were scared and angry due to the economy, world events, etc.  I figured that we would all calm down, open our minds and start to LISTEN to other viewpoints, rather than just knee jerk back to our political/philosophical/religiously inspired ‘dogma’. Sadly, we have not.  Why must we fight about EVERY SINGLE ISSUE?  From chicken sandwiches to guns to taxes to politicians wives and on and on and on.  There is an urge to be “right”, when we would be better served seeking seeking “truth” and that crosses party lines. Not only do we disagree, many feel the need to be downright nasty about it.  We are but specks, with a very short visit on this Earth.  Perhaps it would be wise to listen and process other viewpoints.  Honestly, it can’t hurt….

Do you find yourself swinging into the ‘angry’ zone more often than before? We flawed humans tend to run the gamut of emotions from day to day, or even minute to minute, depending on hormones. It’s all part of our wonderful humanity, but I’m wondering about what’s going on with us lately.

Turn on the news, you see angry mobs…everywhere. Not that unusual I guess, since cable news’ bread and butter is conflict, but the anger and hostility aimed at everyone who doesn’t completely share your viewpoints, whether friends, family, co-workers or complete strangers has become distressing and for me, overwhelming.

What’s with all the anger?  I like to pull a good Buddhist quote out of my butt every now and then and here’s one:  “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”.  Anger ain’t healthy for you or for the target of your anger and yet,  anger has become pervasive in everyday discourse.  It seems to have become a requirement in ANY and ALL conversations about current events, politics and even stuff that’s not really that important, like sports or pop culture.

I have a pretty intense personality and am usually game for a good argument.  I’ve been described as angry or hostile or mean over my many years of yapping on the radio, but as I observe modern media, via TV, radio and the internet, I look and sound like “Little Mary Sunshine” compared to not just other media types, but the ‘common folks’ who opine via chat sites and Facebook.

It got so bad recently, that I pretty much gave up on my ‘public persona’ Facebook page;  I couldn’t abide the nastiness that has become the norm.  It’s not even the hostility that got to me, but rather the ignorance and total rejection of any facts or opinions that might contradict or give clarity to the posts.  There seems to be an epidemic of groupthink on both sides of the political spectrum and in my experience, things are never so black and white on major issues and philosophies.  Using anger as your filter can greatly cut down on your understanding of other opinions, people and yes, facts; it can also be very bad for your mental and emotional health.

Maybe my perspective comes from being in the media for so long.  I’ve had to publicly state and defend my opinions for so many years, that I have developed a pretty thick skin.  Most people who enter the fray, mostly on the internet, aren’t used to being publicly challenged or argued with and I notice that they immediately start in with the nasty stuff.  I find that a rational, challenging debate is fun; pissing matches are not.

Perhaps it’s purely the passing of time; we heard it all of our young lives:  “I’m older and wiser than you and one day you’ll understand”.  Everyday that passes does give me a bit more to go on in the wisdom department.  Life is short and once you pass 50, that road ahead looks like a cul-de-sac, rather than the superhighway that was laid out in front of you at 25.  Hot, burning anger is a waste of my time.   Although I do admit to a fairly constant, low-level annoyance with people, I am much more willing to try and see their side, unless they’re trying to shove it forcefully down my throat, while calling me names.

So, lots of you have found a passion or a purpose in anger of late and I’m certainly not in any position to talk you out of it, but try a little tenderness instead, along with some deep breathing before you speak or hit ‘send’. Oh, and think about puppies and hot chocolate chip cookes; that always puts me in a better mood.  Simple, no?

July 28, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , | Leave a comment

Be nice to each other….

I’m sitting here trying to process the events of today.  This morning, a young man walked into a crowded and festive movie theater in the city of Aurora, Colorado and opened fire on the patrons who had gathered to enjoy the much-anticipated “Batman” movie.

I heard the news on my way to my morning radio show and my first thought was “Oh, God. Not again”.  A little over 13 years ago, two young men murdered and maimed their teachers and classmates at Columbine High School in another Denver suburb.

On September 11, 2001 we watched in horror as the attack on the Twin Towers unfolded during our morning radio show.

So, once again, my longtime radio partner and I felt a responsibility to deliver what people needed on a tragic morning like this.  Information, reason, facts, comfort, empathy, sympathy and pride in all of the strong, competent first responders who saved as many lives as possible.  What we did not want to convey on a very fragile morning was anger, opinion, judgement, hysteria and speculation.

Times like these bring out the best and the worst in people.  What will it bring out in you?  Will you rise up and offer love, comfort and support?  Or will you be one of those who uses this as an opportunity to further a political agenda, rant about what’s wrong  with America and show yourself as the small, ignorant person that we all can be?  It’s your choice.  Weigh your options.

Be nice to each other.  Life is short and fragile.

July 20, 2012 Posted by | Musings | 6 Comments

Dear Future: Leave me alone…


I was recently cruising at 30,000 feet on my way to Traverse City where we hope to eventually start the next phase of our life and I jotted down some of my thoughts as I headed to our new farm house.  Stream of consciousness; no editing.  I learn more that way….

While talking to a neighbor the other day, she asked me if I ever regretted building the house in Fraser and without one second’s hesitation, I told her no.  How many people can live in such a beautiful place just a few miles from a fabulous ski resort?

In a place where moose roam the neighborhood and the summers are full of glorious sunshine and wild flowers.

It’s a place where people look out for each other, due to the sparse population and the difficult terrain and weather.  I’m so grateful for where we live and for the past 13 years in Colorado.

As I rode the airport shuttle up and over the pass answering questions about our magical home from the visitors sharing the van, I had such a pang of sadness.  How do you leave such a place?

Why do you leave such a place?  My fantasy of living in northern Michigan is still just that; a fantasy.  I’m on my way to a home and homestead that I don’t know.  I’ve spent much more time there emotionally than physically, so I guess the next 10 days will be a step toward confirming or moderating that fantasy.

I’ve already mentally moved in and yet, I barely know how to get there or where the property lines are.  What is going on?

I have a tendency to live in the future; whether it’s my restless mind that can’t wait until my 20 minute meditation is up or my visualization of a future that features a new home 1500 miles away.  I have no idea why I do that and I’ve fought mightily not to, but  I suppose there is some comfort in believing I have a future to look forward to.

Some call it ‘wishing your life away’ and maybe that’s why I have found that my memories of the past 20 or 30 years are so opaque.  They almost seem like they are the memories of another person.  Was that really me?

Is it because in the midst of living today, I’m constantly projecting forward?  How do you imprint memories if you aren’t fully ‘there’, living them?

So, here I am flying toward what I envision as my future, yet I’m feeling some pangs of something.  Regret? Sadness?  I don’t live in the past, but it dawns on me that in terms of days, months and years, my past outweighs my future and that imbalance between past and future will only continue to grow.

So, the question is:  do I need to choose my next move carefully or with reckless abandon?

I’m a thinker and a planner and yet I’m flying toward a second home that I spent less than an hour touring before I bought it.  My reptilian mind or my inner compulsive teenager took over for a reason, so there must be a lesson here.

I’ll be keeping my eyes wide open for the next 10 days.

July 17, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments


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