A Country Divided- Do you choose happiness or anger?

The last few weeks have been nuts in and around the United States. First, we had the floods in Texas, hurricane Irma destroyed Islands south of the US & Florida, and Puerto, Rico being hit with not just one but two hurricanes.  As I sit here in California, I felt a little guilty after I posted on social media some fun I enjoyed over the weekend including watching the sunset on the beach and hiking a nearby mountain.

What is the right emotion or action to be taken? Should we sit at home and worry if everyone is going to be okay? Or should you go about your life and take advantage of the positive things around you? Or should you travel to the places that need help and volunteers?

At first, I noticed that posts on social media became positive and geared towards helping those who had been affected by the natural disasters. People were coming together to help one another. Then the president says something or an NFL team does something people don’t like and the negative posts return and people are divided again.  It seems like there is such hatred and anger in the United States right now. I am not sure if it has always been there and it is just more evident now or something is triggering these emotions. Either way, it saddens me to see such anger and upset everywhere I look.

Does it take a natural disaster?

Does it take a natural disaster for people to come together and be kind and caring to one another? I recall after 9/11 happened how united our country was. You could drive down the streets and see American flags everywhere. What happens to divide our country into two? Is it the leadership, administration, new laws, or policies? Is it inevitable or are there strategies we could take personally to keep us as one united front?

After I left the Midwest to move to California, I learned something interesting about the Midwest. I realized that when two or more people meet in other parts of the country, who are from the Midwest, it feels like they are related or close friends.  This is how the conversation starts… “You’re from the Midwest”, “me too!” “Where are you from?” Something about being from the Midwest makes us feel connected. It doesn’t even matter if you are from the same state as long as you are from the Midwest.

Can I borrow a cup of sugar?

Someone from California recently told me that they thought people really didn’t borrow milk, eggs, or sugar from their neighbors, it was only something that happened in the movies. But it really does happen. If you are in the Midwest, about to baked some delicious chocolate chip cookies but are missing one ingredient, it wouldn’t be strange to ask one of your neighbors to borrow that ingredient. Now later you might take some of those freshly baked cookies over to your neighbor’s house to repay their generosity.

When I lived in Louisville, KY during graduate school, I saw a different side of the US there too. When you go to the store and the clerk asks, “how are you today?” They really want to know how you are doing. They aren’t just being polite seeking a generic answer. “I’m doing well.” You might ask, what does have to do with the country being divided? It makes me wonder, how can we feel more connected and united in this country?

What type of country would you like to live in?

Do you want to walk around being angry with a bunch of other angry people? Post negative items on social media to increases the anger and unhappiness. Or do you want to be happy, get along with your neighbors, and spread positive thoughts?

For me, I choose happiness and to enjoy the time we have here on this earth. You never know how long you have on the earth to explore all the beautiful things it has to offer.  You can choose to sit online and hate the world or go out and enjoy life! It is your choice to be happy or to be unhappy. What do you choose? 

If you choose happiness

If you choose happiness, what can you do immediately to make some changes? If each of us chooses to be happy, how different would this country be today?