That Was Then, This Is Now

I’m not much of a Debbie Downer on Black Friday. Whether I’m supposed to dislike that it commercially detracts from the spirit of giving or takes people away from their families, I’d be lying if I said I don’t like it. Truth be told, I enjoy looking at cool things, fantasizing about bargains, and taking advantage if I can afford them.

Looking through through the ads, though, and noticing some deals on YouTube, got me thinking about marketing psychology, and how I’m mentally prompted to have sudden “needs” that didn’t seem to exist before today. It’s as if someone took a peek into my personal psychology and conspired to draw my interest.

Maybe it was the psychology that led my brain down the path where I and others were just a year ago. (It already seems like four.) A shocking election victory had just occurred, and it felt like the good in the world was going to begin being dismantled. At the time, I had traveled to San Francisco to be with family, a needed reprieve for my personal mental space at the time.

The silver lining for me of experiencing that event and those following from the past year, or more, is that it caused some self-reflection on my own paradigm, and what maya, or illusory beliefs about the world, I had created for myself. While it may be true that I’ve since developed some political cynicism, I believe it’s more correct that before last year I was enrolled in naive ideological optimism.

Let me explain. If someone had told me last October that Donald Trump would be allowed to behave the way he does, and become president, I wouldn’t have believed it. Likewise, if someone had tried to persuade me how self-serving most of those in leadership are, I would have felt he or she was exaggerating.

If it had been predicted that a slew of allegations about inappropriate sexual behavior would arise, I might have considered it negative predicting. Finally, if I’d had a crystal ball and discovered that facts and behavior were being ignored in a wide scale to support tribal allegiances, I might have guessed that phenomenon, but would have been surprised at the degree to which it has occurred.

Nowdays, I have little surprise. Poor behavior is expected, as is determined obstinancy about anyone’s interpretations about facts and what they mean. Past unproductive discussions over ideas and politics have not deterred me from having conflictual discussions altogether, but they have grown my awareness of the importance of with whom, where and when to do so.

My own self-awareness has also grown over the past year, honing my sensitivity about when to look at the news, how much influence to allow it in my thinking, and to be deliberate in what I allow to circulate my brain.

Sleep, meditation, exercise, nutrition, creativity and my interactions with others have raised to a higher level of importance in my life than paying attention to the online yellow press gossipsphere.

Likewise, my sense of advocacy has turned more local in degrees. My time and energy has become more focused on my community and work.

Perplexity at events, which just a year ago left me feeling traumatized has morphed into efforts at mindfulness and self-care, reflection on reaching points of dialogue with others unlike me, teaching others both how to better empathize with those in their world and better create strategies of their own self-care, and standing for those in my community that need an advocate.

It’s not that the past year has highly evolved me--I still love getting cool stuff and playing with toys--but more that I’ve received a tune-up in the energy-directing department of my life, and I’m still in the process of shaping how that goes.

For me, my focus will remain on attempts to allocate time most productively for myself, my family and neighbors, bringing myself personal joy, and an avoidance of overstress, which is an invitation for unnecessary conflict and sickness.

It feels good to realize that, though the news might seem negative, at least it has not been a personal bust. As for Black Friday, I might hit up Michael’s. I have movie posters and art pieces lying around loosely, and it will simplify my world to find frames for them.