South Shore Breaker

Let’s focus on things we can control

- VERNON OICKLE vernon.l.oickle@eastlink.ca @Saltwirene­twork Vernon Oickle, the author of 32 books, writes The View From Here column, which appears weekly in the South Shore Breaker.

We live in perilous times.

Between the pandemic that had basically shut down our lives for the past two years and now the devastatin­g war in the Ukraine, we wonder what is happening right now.

We long for better times when, despite ongoing issues, the world still seemed like a much friendlier place, and we wish we could go back there.we should worry about our futures and those of our children and grandchild­ren, but the harsh truth is that we cannot change world events.

While we can watch them unfold, express our dismay, pass judgement and make our opinions known to those decision makers who tell us they are in control, there is little else we can do.

Some things are just beyond our reach.

But while we all have an obligation to remain informed and engaged in these events that impact the entire world, we must also accept that in the larger scheme of things, our hands are mostly tied as we rely on our leaders to do the right thing, even when it seems the “right thing” is not always what we would recommend.

Yes, we can commiserat­e and express our unhappines­s. We should talk about it as it’s unhealthy to keep our emotions bottled up inside.

We should be angry, but we simply must accept that as the universe unfolds, it’s important to let go of the darkness and embrace those positive things in our lives. Working to improve our world closer to home is a good counterbal­ance for those things beyond our control.

We live in a free and democratic country, so while we have every right to complain and criticise those things we disagree with, we should not spend all our time and energy dwelling on the negative issues. Instead, it would be healthier and more productive to focus on the many positive things that we have in our lives — and there are many. We should embrace them.

While the world is seemingly spinning out of control

We long for better times when, despite ongoing issues, the world still seemed like a much friendlier place, and we wish we could go back there. We should worry about our futures and those of our children and grandchild­ren, but the harsh truth is that we cannot change world events.

right now, we would be wise to take stock of the wonderful things that contribute to our quality of life here in Canada because, by comparison to other parts of the world, we have it pretty darned good.

Every time I hear someone complain about our current situation or how bad they have it or how inconvenie­nced they feel, I think, yes, that may be true from one perspectiv­e, but what about …

The love, comfort and support you receive from your family and friends? When you are feeling down and out, or the burden is becoming just too much, I would encourage you to think about those important people in your life and be grateful that you have someone who cares for you and who will stand by you no matter what.

That’s a quality that no amount of money can buy and nothing else can replace. We would all do well to remember that because there are so many people out there in the world who do not have such support.

The reality that you woke up this morning in a warm, safe house where you went about your daily business getting ready for work and seeing the kids off to school is reason to be grateful. You went through your normal routine of dressing, eating breakfast, probably checking all of your social media accounts for updates on world events and then you went off to live your day.

Pretty normal, right? Just remember how lucky you are to be able to enjoy that routine while hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, don’t have a home or food or a job to go to.

The fact that we live in a relatively safe environmen­t where bombs are not dropping from the sky or someone is not shooting at us; where buildings aren’t collapsing around us and our neighbours are not being killed in front of our eyes is a lot for which we should be grateful.

Here on the South Shore, we all live in relatively safe communitie­s where people can freely go about their business and daily routines without having the constant fear of being attacked or, even worse, killed. Sure, we do have crime, but in comparison to some areas of the world — and even other parts of our own country — our region is pretty secure.

The reality is that even though the price of groceries has reached higher levels than most of us have ever seen before, we are fortunate enough to be able to put food on our tables. We are also fortune that we can drive to the supermarke­t where we can safely find pretty much everything we’re looking for. We should not take that convenienc­e for granted.

And while we know there are many serious issues in the health care system, most of us still have unencumber­ed access to medical care.

There may be a shortage of doctors, nurses and other health care profession­als, and there may be longerthan-we’d-like delays and wait times, but at the end of the day, most Canadians do find some relief for what ails them. Not every place in the world can deliver the same level care.

Maybe some people won’t see this as an important quality or won’t believe it to be true, but here in Canada we have access to a free and uncensored media that is not controlled by the government.

This may be contrary to what some people think, but the uncensored flow of informatio­n is vital to a free democracy and that informatio­n keeps us informed and contribute­s greatly to our quality of life.

For those of you with children, think about the schools, teachers and other profession­als put in place to provide them with a good education to prepare them to meet the future world.

There are challenges, especially in this age of COVID, but a quality education is surely something to embrace, especially because there are so many other places in the world where children learn on the streets and have never seen the inside of a classroom.

As for quality of life, while our environmen­t may be under attack on various fronts, we are still fortunate to live in a beautiful place with fresh air, clean water and largely unpolluted land.

While there is an urgency to slow the degradatio­n of the natural places around the world and to stop global warming, it’s also true that for the most part, we live in a pristine environmen­t.

This is an added bonus on the list of positive attributes that make our lives better.

There are also many places where rampant and crippling poverty prevents people from getting the simple basics of life, let alone the many luxuries we enjoy every day. Think of that the next time you complain about your problems.

For those who go to work every day to a job that you love and enjoy, you should add that to your list of positives as well because there are places around the world where you are told what you’re going to do every day.

The same holds true for people who like to travel. Sure, during the pandemic there were strict guidelines and the movement of people was pretty much shut down for two years, but the situation is getting better, and the travel industry is swinging into high gear.

That means you’ll be pretty much able to travel to most of the places you enjoy and see family and friends you may not have seen for a few years.

Indeed, the world may be a little off kilter these days, as it surely is. There are things that we can’t change, but I urge you to pause and reflect upon those qualities that give you a better life.

I’m sure after some introspect­ion and letting go of the things you cannot change, you’ll see things in a different light or at least that’s the view from here.

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