Can you remain positive this summer?

May 29, 2022

I’ve always strived to be a positive person, but lately it’s becoming increasingly difficult. The war in Ukraine, the stock market flux, the debate over women’s rights and the barrage of hate crimes rampant in our country have left me feeling saddened and irate.

One of my friends sent me a book, “The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon, because he knows I’m struggling with my outlook on life. In the book, a man like myself visits a wise man for advice about how to remain positive.

The man says, “I feel like there are two dogs inside me. One dog is this positive, loving, kind and gentle dog, and then I have this mean-spirited and negative dog, and they fight all the time. I don’t know which one is going to win.”

In Gordon’s story, the wise man says, “I know which is going to win. The one you feed the most, so feed the positive dog.” Easier said than done, right?

What can I do? Watch a minimal amount of news, for starters. And that includes reading the headlines on my phone. I ask myself, “What do I have control over right now?”

I can stop looking at the stock market app on my phone. I can tell my broker to sell, or I can wait patiently to ride it out just like I did in 2008. No amount of worry then and no amount of worry today can change the outcome of events.

I can’t stop the war in Ukraine, and I have no control over the decisions of the Supreme Court. As an educator for over 30 years, I did my best to address racial injustice whenever it reared its ugly head.

White privilege does exist, and if we don’t acknowledge the sins of the past as well as the present, we can’t make lasting progress. Prejudice takes many forms, and what we can do is speak up when we witness bigotry. Imagine a world where more people stood up to confront the bullies in our midst.

Today the sun is shining, and the despite all the horrible things that are happening in this world, we can make a choice to demonstrate kindness at every turn.

Let someone go first. Let someone out into traffic. Let someone cross the street while you wait. Tell a person you appreciate them. Tell a person you wish them a good day.

When negative events happen in the world, it doesn’t have to affect my mood. I get to choose how to react.  I’m out of practice lately, but I’m vowing to make better choices.

Now the summer is upon us, and our attitude and patience will be tested beyond measure. How dare those out-of-state license plate people act like they own our towns? Oh, wait, that guy that just cut me off has Delaware tags!

What will be your strategy to stay calm when it takes five times as long to get around town? How can you remain calm in the summer of 2022? Will you feed the positive dog or the negative dog? I don’t know which one is going to win.


Reach Lisa Graff at Find her on Facebook by searching Our Senior Yearbook; on Twitter @#lisajgraff1 and at her website,

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter