Why our glass is half full
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You don’t get anywhere by not “wasting” time,’ wrote Carlo Rovelli at the start of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. He was referring to a year Albert Einstein spent ‘loafing aimlessly’ as a youth before he evolved into the world’s most quoted physicist, but his words are just as apposite at a time of year when irritable panic so often submerges enjoyment of simple things.
The mood of the Advent period should be one of anticipation and reflection yet, so often, we forget to find genuine enjoyment and comfort in it as we scurry, grim-faced, to beat the Christmas deadlines.
Even the most cursory scan of the news headlines brings anything but merriment and seasonal good cheer: bitter Brexit rows, banking anxiety, football scandals, European election results, rising fuel prices, a Brussels sprout-eating moth, traffic cones, train strikes, the Dogs Trust reporting nearly 4,000 unwanted dogs last month alone and, worst by far, the unceasing torment of the Syrians.
There is good news if you search for it; there is plenty at which to stand and stare, if only we would allow time to look. Here are 17 reasons to be cheerful this December. The X-factor