all posts tagged 'optimism'

WeblogPoMo 2024 - Song 13: Anxiety Attack Mitigation

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

A heads up: this post talks about mental health and suicidal thoughts again.

When you mention suicidal thoughts to your therapist, the first thing they do is work with you to write up a plan.

The plan is a series of steps you can take when you are unable to pull yourself out of a funk.

The steps start out small and accelerate all the way up to “go to the hospital.”

My first small step was to write down movies, TV shows, or songs that make me happy.

The movies and TV shows were easy, but I struggled to think of songs that made me happy.

As I’ve written a lot about this month, most music simply distracts me or serves as a sympathetic friend. It’s not often that songs put a smile on my face.

I started a new playlist in Apple Music called Anxiety Attack Mitigation1. Over the following few weeks, I added songs that brought a legit smile to my face when I heard them.

Here are the songs on it as of today:

Black Box - Fall into My Love (Radio Edit)

One night, my daughter was eating at the table while I was doing dishes. We were arguing about something unimportant. She was “very mad” at me.

This song comes on shuffle and I begin dancing. I can’t help it with this song, it’s too damn groovy.

I turn around and look over at my daughter. She looks up from her plate with an angry scowl. She sees what I’m doing and her jaw drops like a cartoon character. She gets this look on her face that’s equal parts amused and shocked.

She quickly realizes that she’s supposed to be mad at me, so she quickly covers her mouth and looks away.

Whenever this song comes on, even if I’m “very mad” about something, I can’t help but crack a smile.

Coolio - The Winner

I mentioned this song in my Hit ‘em High writeup, so I’ll make this quick:

This is a song that I’ve heard all my life, but never actually listened to until very recently.

Seriously, read these lyrics.

I’ll admit that I didn’t expect this sort of message from the same guy as Gangsta’s Paradise, but I’m grateful for the wisdom of Coolio.

Des'ree - You Gotta Be

102.9 Lite FM was my second favorite radio station growing up2.

I’d fall asleep to that station every night.

The song I most looked forward to hearing was this one.

Even as a fourth grader, this song made me feel good about myself.

As an adult, the song serves as a manifesto for how to keep moving through life.

Sum 41 - Fat Lip

I had this song on my Cybiko.

That’s a big deal because my Cybiko had a 16 megabyte card, which could store a whopping 16 minutes of low quality MP3s.

This song reminds me of middle school. Wanting to rebel but never feeling courageous enough to do it.

I’ve been lucky enough to see them perform it live twice this year3. I used to think pop punk music wasn’t something I was allowed to have as part of my identity, but the past few months have needed a soundtrack to help me make sense of my present situation.

Now, I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I love it.

12 year old Tim would’ve loved to see Sum 41 live. 36 year old Tim is grateful to have had that realization before it was too late.

And every time I hear this song, it reminds me that I need to put on my own oxygen mask before helping others.

Rêve - Still Dancing

I already covered this one.

Hoobastank - Crawling In The Dark

I’m embarrassed to admit I listen to a lot of these songs, and this one is probably the one I’m the most embarrassed about.

Maybe I’m reaching a point in my life where I want to care less about what other people think, and this post serves as exposure therapy.

But I can’t rock out enough to this song when I feel angsty. It helps me feel less alone.

Jimmy Eat World - The Middle

This was another song that was on my Cybiko.

Every time I hear it, I try to place myself into the perspective of either the singer or the girl.

As the singer, someone pops into my head that I feel could use a pat on their back, so I shoot them a text and see how they’re hanging in there.

As the girl, I allow myself to get the pat on the back.

Bluey - I Know a Place (The Creek Song)

The best children’s television show of the past few years is unquestionably Bluey.

The soundtrack to the show is part of the reason why.

Close your eyes when listening to this song and picture the scene being described.

It’s a sure fire way to ground yourself back in reality, to give you a chance to let go of the thing that is causing you so much stress, to make space for thoughts that matter.

Em Beihold - Numb Little Bug

I went out for karaoke a month or so ago and heard someone sing this song that I’d never heard before.

The lyrics match the way I feel when I’m especially down, and listening to her helps me feel less isolated.

Modest Mouse - Float On

Like the Coolio song above, here’s a song that’s been in regular rotation for years, but I hadn’t really listened to the lyrics.

This song is a reminder that life often works out just fine in the end.

Hoku - Perfect Day

You listen to this song and try to not get a dumb grin on your face.

Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up

Yet another song I’ve enjoyed for years without considering the lyrics all that much.

The uplifting lyrics and encouragement to persevere through struggle make this song perfect for this playlist.

It also often gives me perspective for my own struggles. I know there isn’t such a thing as “the suffering Olympics,” but come on, my struggles aren’t much compared to those of an African American in the 70s.

The Linda Lindas - Talking to Myself

I’m seeing Green Day this summer, and the Linda Lindas are one of the opening sets.

Their entire Growing Up album is very good, but this song made it on this playlist because, much like the Numb Little Big song, it often feels like we’re alone when we have depressive thoughts.

I’m super lucky to have friends I can call to talk about the things I think about that I can’t help.

Some of you may even be reading this post! I can’t believe people read this stuff, but again, I’m a very lucky guy. ❤️

  1. This is an incredibly dorky name. Just needed to admit that here. 

  2. My first was Radio AAHS. The ink I could spill about my love for Radio AAHS… 

  3. They are currently on their final tour. I’m not sure if this is like pro wrestling when people have retirement matches and then go on to wrestle for another 30 years (looking at you, Ric Flair), but it sure feels like they are ready to call it. Yet another reason I’m glad I took the opportunity to see them live this year. 

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Can we imagine a positive future?

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

The reason that I’ve been looking for positive future visions is because I feel that the environmental and social movements here in the UK seem to be increasingly pessimistic, driven more by fear and despair than by hope and inspiration. Naturally these movements always have their roots in the challenges that we face, but when I first got involved as a teenager there seemed to be an atmosphere of genuine hope. That hope was inspiring and energising, a wonderful thing to be a part of and hugely motivational. In the last few years though, I have been disheartened to hear many people I admire and respect confess to me in private that they have given up hope.

And I don’t blame them. I have struggled with hope too. It’s been a very long time since we had a political leader who could inspire us with a meaningful vision for a better future, and despite repeated claims by activists that “we already have all of the solutions“, the elephant in the room is that they don’t seem to be working. Even Patagonia's founder, Yvon Chouinard, when changing the company's mission statement to “We're in business to save our home planet”, apparently also said in private that it’s because he thinks it's already too late for humanity.

To me, this is an untenable situation. Hope is the fuel that drives life forward. It's what gets us out of bed in the morning, enables us to face the struggles of life and gives us all something to aim for. Without hope, there is only darkness.

As we travel through the vast expanse of space on our tiny blue marble called Earth, we must remember that it is the tiny points of light out there in the darkness of the universe that give birth to all the wonders of life. Hope is light, and we only need a little bit for great things to happen.

I am constantly inspired by Tom Greenwood’s posts. This one was chock full of new-to-me concepts like New Earth, the Age of Aquarius, the ancient Indian Yuga Cycle, and Tom’s vision called Harmonium.

I also like his three step process for reigniting hope (allow yourself to dream, work on yourself, move forward). This is the precise process I’ve been undergoing in my own life since getting laid off at the beginning of the year.

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Compounding Optimism

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

The core point of this article (incremental progress is vastly underestimated and compound growth is hard to fathom) is solid, but it’s this part that stuck with me:

If you view progress as being driven by the genius of individuals, of course it’s hard to imagine a future where things are dramatically better, because no individual is orders of magnitudes smarter than average.

But when you view it as one person coming up with a small idea, another person copying that idea and tweaking it a little, another taking that insight and manipulating it a bit, another yet taking that product and combining it with something else – incremental, tiny bits, little ideas mixing, joining, blending, mutating, and compounding together – it’s suddenly much more conceivable.

This must be why I’ve been so drawn to finding a community lately.

I find it exhausting and boring being stuck all by myself, chugging through a coding problem with no one to talk to.

Mutating and remixing ideas is what gives me energy. Taking someone’s thought and tweaking it to make it better in some meaningful way. It’s the part of my job I love the most.

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Everything is Terrible but I’m Fine

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

With greater access to news on social media and the internet, Americans are more deluged than they used to be by depressing stories. (And the news cycle really can be pretty depressing!)

This is leading to a kind of perma-gloom about the state of the world, even as we maintain a certain resilience about the things that we have the most control over.

Beyond the diverse array of daily challenges that Americans face, many of us seem to be suffering from something related to the German concept of weltschmerz, or world-sadness. It’s mediaschmerz—a sadness about the news cycle and news media, which is distinct from the experience of our everyday life.

I’m really not sure how my journalism friends maintain their sanity.

I’m also not sure how to interpret this theory other than “this is what I’ve been trying to articulate for two years now, but with some data.”

Turn off the news, delete your social media accounts. Your weltschmerz and mediaschmerz will thank you for it.

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By All Means: DuNord Craft Spirits Founder/CEO Chris Montana

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

This episode of the excellent By All Means podcast demanded to be shared for two reasons:

First, Allison Kaplan is painfully good at her job. I say painful because, as a podcast host myself, I know it’s not easy to (a) identify good stories and (b) lead a guest comfortably through an interview. She was incredible as a host in this episode, and anyone looking for tips on how to conduct a long-form interview aught to follow Ali’s work.

Second, the story told in this episode is undeniably compelling. Chris Montana’s story is filled with ups and downs, he’s a guy you just can’t help but want to root for.

I lived a couple miles from Du Nord when it first opened, and my wife and I quickly found it to be our favorite local spot. Even now, I can close my eyes and remember exactly how I felt sipping a gin cocktail in his lounge. I’ve never met Chris before, but after hearing his story in full, I can tell that my experience at Du Nord was carefully considered and designed, and I appreciate it all that much more.

There’s grief and pain tied in with the Du Nord story, to be sure… but also lots of success and optimism for the future. It’s stories like these that we all need to hear, learn from, and share voraciously with others.

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The Day the Live Concert Returns

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

I don’t know when it will be safe to return to singing arm in arm at the top of our lungs, hearts racing, bodies moving, souls bursting with life. But I do know that we will do it again, because we have to. It’s not a choice.

We’re human. We need moments that reassure us that we are not alone. That we are understood. That we are imperfect. And, most important, that we need each other.

The coronavirus has upended our lives, and we are all collectively looking forward to the day when it is safe to embrace a stranger again.

That collective optimism is what gives me hope that it actually will happen.

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Personal Renewal

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

Nothing is ever finally safe. Every important battle is fought and re-fought. We need to develop a resilient, indomitable morale that enables us to face those realities and still strive with every ounce of energy to prevail.

You may wonder if such a struggle -- endless and of uncertain outcome -- isn't more than humans can bear. But all of history suggests that the human spirit is well fitted to cope with just that kind of world.

It was very hard to pull a single quote out of this speech. If you’re struggling in life right now, reading this will help.

Edit from the future: I just realized I shared this twice in, like, two weeks haha! Here's the pull quote I used from the other sharing. I guess this is just a sign that this speech really is amazing.

If we are conscious of the danger of going to seed, we can resort to countervailing measures. At almost any age. You don’t need to run down like an unwound clock. And if your clock is unwound, you can wind it up again. You can stay alive in every sense of the word until you fail physically. I know some pretty successful people who feel that that just isn’t possible for them, that life has trapped them. But they don’t really know that. Life takes unexpected turns.

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