Guest Post: Life Is Sweet…If I Abandon My Cynical Outlook

There’s enough going on in the world these days to make even the calmest person’s blood pressure skyrocket. The Japanese earthquakes and tsunami, a collapsing global economy, revolutions in the Middle East, America fighting two wars and more.

When I can’t watch the news anymore because it’s just too disturbing, I take a very deep breath and focus on what I have to be thankful for and what I can do to help those in need.

Once I became a mom, I struggled to watch the news. It upset me in a way it never had before. I’ve talked with other moms who have the same reaction. I used to be a news junkie, with CNN on in my office. Now, I can barely watch the lead story before I switch channels.

NewspaperI do better with the newspaper. I love the New York Times for it’s brilliant writing, clever headlines and of course, the Style Section. When I’m feeling stressed about global events and human suffering, I start reading the Style Section and gradually make my way through the paper. After the Wedding Section—after all, who doesn’t want to see which well-to-do, Ivy League couples are tying the knot this week?—I turn to the Week In Review. It’s a bit more palatable than the Front Page, which is all hard news, bleak and complete with above-the-fold photos starkly illustrating a gruesome story.

By the time I’ve gathered up the nerve to read the Front Page, I’m generally ready to handle the harsh reality of overnight events. I read it because that’s what a well-informed mom does. If my kids have questions, I want to be up-to-date with the latest information I can distill for them in age appropriate language. Yesterday, I was relieved that my kids’ school discussed the Japanese earthquake and tsunami with their classes. After school, I answered their questions.

With all the chaos in the world, I remind myself that life is still sweet. I’m working on abandoning my cynical (slightly distrustful) nature in favor of a more “glass half full” approach to life. Don’t get me wrong, I love cynicism in others i.e. Woody Allen. It’s one of my favorite qualities, along with a wry sense of humor. It’s just that right now, I need to be less cynical, more trusting, more generous and less anxious. Life IS sweet…especially when I set aside my cynicism, if only temporarily. I just started by making a donation to The Red Cross for the victims of the Japanese disaster. Every donation counts! There’s nothing cynical about that.

Christina Simon, 46, is the co-author of “Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles”. She also writes the blog, www.beyondthebrochure.blogspot.com about applying to private elementary schools in Los Angeles and life as a private school mom in a school-obsessed city. Christina is a former vice president at Fleishman-Hillard, a global public relations firm. She has a 7-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. Christina lives in Hancock Park, Los Angeles with her husband and children. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an M.A. from UCLA.

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