A positive new year

 It is now officially 2010, and we are all faced with a brand new year.  Many will see it as a jumpstart to having a renewed attitude, trying to shrug off any of the misery that 2009 brought to the table.  It is so easy to focus on the negatives, but let’s try to be positive going forward.  The news media have to report on all news, however unpleasant it may be, but the editor of The Compass brought up a valid point – she welcomes happy reports submitted by the community, so let’s get working on them!  Things haven’t been great, but hey – things could be a lot worse…

Take as an example the recent unpleasantness with the Nigerian on the plane who managed to smuggle a deadly device onboard.  It has meant an entirely new revamping of the security process, which is already a tiresome experience.  I remember getting ready to board a few years ago where removing one’s shoes was not mandatory, however my footwear was cause for concern, due to its design.  I had been walking in said heels all day, and so exposing anyone to my feet was something that gave me pause.  I took them off as requested, wrestling them from my weary toes whilst warning “Okay, but it’s your funeral!”  Probably not the best turn of phrase, considering the present clime, yet thankfully the security person had a good sense of humour, which is not always the case.  Both passengers and officers should try to be a little more patient and pleasant to one another in this era of heightened awareness and much more rigorous security measures.  Travelers don’t enjoy the time-consuming procedures, particularly when greeted with a sour-faced official, but then who knows if the unhappy security agent just got an earful from a miserable subject?  Let’s smile and remember how lucky we are that we can travel at all.  Some are unable to afford any trips, and others are severely restricted by their nationalities, making visas almost impossible to obtain.  I completely take for granted the fact that I can visit almost anywhere in the world with my passport without any real difficulties save the normal travel hassles, something I’ll try to remember the next time I’m clenching my teeth whilst waiting in line.

We all have lousy days, when it seems that nothing is going well, but even though it’s a cliché, it’s true – there is always someone worse off.  I’ve actually wondered what poor individual exists out there to whom this old familiar saying does not apply.  They are literally the ones at the end of the line and no one is worse off.  Man.  Seriously though, I have my moments when I’m down, or angry, or hurt, but then I think how lucky I am to have my health, my family, my friends, and it really does make me feel better.  It’s not to say that we’re not allowed our time to be miserable, but perspective is a great thing.  I was feeling a little sorry for myself recently, and then I realized how happy I was to be at least slimmer and a martyr.  Every cloud…

Many of you have asked how my sailboat is doing after reading columns past.  I haven’t taken it out in ages, mainly because the weekends get away from me so quickly and my brother Dominic is the only one who can maneuver “Xanax” out of the slip without hitting vessels worth a hundred times more.  We are preparing to hook up a solar charger to trickle charge the battery so we don’t have to keep switching out the power source every three-to-four weeks, as the two bilge pumps need to be on constant alert.  In December it looked as though both had given up the ghost, and with all the rain, the bilge was filling with water.  I decided that I would simply remove it manually.  How difficult could it be?  An hour later, drenched in sweat and chucking gallon after gallon overboard to seemingly no avail and the bemusement of surrounding captains, I understood why the Titanic went down.  On Monday of this week I headed to the Yacht Club with a fresh battery and determination, ready to get to the bottom of the problem.  I hooked it up, hit the bilge pump switch, and miracle of miracles, one of the pumps sprang to life, sending potentially back-breaking labour effortlessly into North Sound.  I’m suddenly feeling much more positive about the boat in the New Year!

I have also made an effort to get back on my bike, so to speak.  For many months now my motorcycle has been a convenient perch for Ching-Chings as they survey the bowls of cat food on my front porch, sometimes gathering in such large numbers that I half expect to find Tippi Hedren on my doorstep.  At first I stopped riding it because of the unpredictable weather, but then (if I have to be honest) I lost my nerve a little at the idea of being amongst the traffic again.  No guts, no glory!  I washed the generous dashes of bird excrement off its frame, donned my helmet and took to the main road – yahoo!!!  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the freedom of being on that bike, and now I’m on it nearly every day, unless it’s raining.  Helmet hair I can handle; drowned rat, I can’t.

Sure, we’ve all had our knocks, many in the last twelve months, but perhaps if we start to take pleasure in the smaller things and appreciate people and possessions already in our lives (yet sometimes overlooked for whatever reason) we can get a new lease on life with ease.  Positive thinking, being courteous to others and feeling better about ourselves is a great way to start 2010.  It can make such a difference, especially in a community as cozy as this one, and good vibrations are definitely contagious.  Cue the music; I feel a Beach Boys song comin’ on!