Don't Stop Believin' - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Focus on the good times. Try to remember the times that were good. Those words, spoken by A.J. Soprano in the final 75 seconds of The Sopranos, the show that changed television forever, were a direct reference to something protagonist Tony said to his family back in the first season.
“Someday soon, you’re gonna have families of your own and, if you’re lucky, you’ll remember the little moments like this, that were good,” Tony said to his wife and kids.
Without specifically thanking notorious anti-hero Tony Soprano for it (he’s far from the first person to encourage us to always look on the bright side of life), this is how I’ve been able to put my feet down onto the carpet morning after morning this last little while.
Now, that’s not meant to be as depressing as it sounds. I think it’s just reality for a lot of us these days.
In two weeks, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has transformed our understanding of the pandemic, just as many of us thought we were beginning to learn how to live life in the midst of a pandemic. Honestly, looking back at the last issue of The Citizen, published on Dec. 23, it feels like the innocent old times when compared to what things are like in the early days of 2022.
While skeptical people in this area may have been arrogant in the last year or two, asking where all these sick people have been hiding, no doubt we all know of several friends or family members who have tested positive for the virus in the last two weeks, if not yourself.
I don’t have to rehash the whole explosion of cases for you. Surely you know what’s going on and you’ve been touched by it.
That’s where remembering the good times comes in. I’ve reached the point where I just cannot “doomscroll” through my phone any longer. I can’t talk about bad things day in and day out. It’s not good for anyone.
So, what do I think of? I think of my beautiful girls at home, my daughter and my wife. I think of the supportive and loving members of my family and friends. I think of how grateful I am to have a good job that I love and I think of how lucky we are to own a great home as so many struggle to afford one.
I laud the people who have worked hard to do the right thing when it’s so easy to focus on those who haven’t. I don’t dwell on vacations not taken, but think of the time at home with my own little family or the few small getaways we’ve been able to safely squeeze in.
With a big birthday coming up this year, I try not to focus on the fact that I’m getting older (that’s a fight no one can win), but rather on what I’ve accomplished in that time and what I hope to accomplish after that fateful day in May.
It’s certainly not easy and it’s never going to be. There’s a fine line between focusing on the positives and burying your head in the sand. But, (God help me for using this term) in these unprecedented times, I think many of us have no choice but to focus on the positives because the negatives will eat you up.
As 2022 begins, it will be a year of endless possibilities and many unknowns, just like every other year. The path I’ve chosen is to focus on what I have, not what I don’t; to celebrate what I can accomplish, not mourn what I cannot and to spend my time with those who deserve it, rather than waste it on those who don’t. Alright, I might have started the year by writing one of those live, laugh, love-style signs. Anyone want to paint that on a piece of wood for me? I promise to not pay for it and never put it up.