HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge – Changing my attitude

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Was mid-forearm deep in dirty dishes, contemplating my negative mid-morning funk when it suddenly dawned on me – I’m turning into a spoiled, miserable, grouchy, angry, old fart.

Whatrya doin?” I yelled to no one, tossing my scrubby brush angrily into the sink. The answer I heard was only inside my head but it clanged about pretty loud in there.

“Nothing.”

Which I instantly recognized as exactly the problem. I’ve been doing nothing.

Of recent I have lost my spunk, my energy, my fight. My negativity and depression has snuck into me like dirt creeps under one’s fingernails. I never realized it was there and now I recognize just how thick it is. I don’t like me. It’s time to do a mental cleansing.

I need to allow myself to heal.

It’s time to recharge my heart, soul and mind, and shed the same gloom and negative energy it seems the whole world is engulfed in. I’m not alone in my funk. Much of the negative energy is directly attributable to  Covid19 and its multiple spinoff effects. Foremost is the fear of dying – especially in such an uncomfortable manner. Take it from one who knows about lack of oxygen gasping for a breath of life is the most terrifying experience one can have. Incubation with tubes stuffed down your throat and/or up your nose is horrendously upsetting, second only in terror-scale to suffocation. Surviving such an experience leaves mental marks.

The pandemic has also brought us unprecedented interruptions  and life-altering adjustments including: social isolation, quarantine, limited contact with friends, family, co-workers, loss of jobs, impacts on work, play, travel, shopping … Our lifestyles are completely skewed. Businesses are tanking or struggling to stay afloat.

Perhaps even more damaging is the growing frustration, impatience, intolerance, greed and paranoia that threatens our peace and survival. Many folks refuse to acknowledge the pandemic, or believe masks or other guidelines make a difference. Some believe Covid should be allowed to run wild and kill off the weak, old etc. Conspiracy theorists are having a field day relishing in the disturbance. Manipulators and instigators of such ilk have the full backup of internet online ‘fake news’ to help feed the paranoia or misinformation.

Many folks are fed up or upset with those who will not abide by guidelines and regulations such as wearing masks, social distancing – and the inferno of fear grows and grows.

Now that supposed anti-serums are available hopefully some of the angst will abide, however even that could become another problem if people become impatient waiting their turn.

While much of the blame for the sorry state of our world may be the pandemic – it is bigger than that. Other sources of negativity include financial difficulties, natural catastrophes, global warming, political issues both in Canada and the United States, riots and civil disorder in various parts of the world, and the often depressing mid-winter funk of SAD.

For some Christmas is a hard time, only magnified this year by any or all of the above.

Regardless the cause, I now recognize I’ve allowed the anger to heap upon me for a bit. Many of the reasons may be much bigger than me however, I’m not doing what I can, either.

I’ve allowed the positive energy, hoping, helping, healing side of me that has been my friend for so long, slowly, silently slip aside.

I’ve battled depression all my life, and for me one of the safe spots for survival was learning to find the good in something.

Being a positive ‘happy go lucky’  person is not easy. It takes work. The trick to a positive attitude is to make a point of recognizing the positives that surround you instead of flailing around in the muck of negativity. It takes making the choice to do so and then (the difficult part)  stick to it.

The more you work at being happy or positive, the easier it gets. It becomes a habit as potentially strong as being an Eyore or Negative Nellie.

One of the tricks I learned is to say ‘thank you’ out loud after waking up in the morning. Just saying it out loud helps start my day right. Corny? Perhaps but give it a try – it works for me.

Positive thinking takes resolve and leadership. You need to kick-start yourself. I haven’t been doing that much lately, certainly not consistently.

So I take this opportunity to announce a change in Charlie and a challenge for you to try and join me. I am not waiting for New Years to make a positive change. I intend to try and find the good in the world again, starting with the good in me.

I implore you to try and help yourself help the world in a little self healing.

One way to start is to think of someone you know who has been kind to you this past year and send me their name as your angel. Starting next week I will return with my annual Charlie’s Christmas Angel list – where I print the names of Angels nominated by readers. To be an angel does not have to take a lot. They can qualify for one simple gesture or act – if it helped you or someone else.

So hurry up, don’t procrastinate. Help yourself be happier and send me those names. Email your angel to charliehodge333@gmail.com

Oh yeah, and Merry Christmas.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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