Author: Campbell, Bruce

Just Hit the F5 Button

In case you didn’t know, on your computer keyboard (at least for PCs), the F5 button means “refresh” when you’re using a browser to view the internet. It can be helpful if a page seems to hang, or there’s something odd about the site you’re on. Some sites have rotating images, and they change every time you refresh. F5 is the shortcut.

Life needs a refresh now and again, for a number of reasons. We have our daily routines, tasks and challenges, and we gather anxieties, big and small, along the way. Even optimists gather this anxiety baggage. Depending on your attitude to life, you may be able to shed most of it through some personal rituals – meditation, a good book, a good bath, or playing music. But there’s nearly always some residual tension.

If this happens on personal level, it also happens on a societal level. If you weren’t aware of it before, the Social Media phenomenon has brought it to the fore. In the crazy maelstrom of Social Media, everyone’s residual anxiety baggage is on display at some point or another. And since there are a billion people on it, it becomes a cacophony of tension, and the folks who handle tension the worst seem to be the noisiest.

For me, at least up until Social Media made panic, fear and anxiety a perpetual motionmachine, the annual holiday season was the refresh for our collective tensions.

For a few weeks every year, folks make a concerted effort to be a little nicer than usual. They make an effort to give a little more, and love a little more. I doubt it ever makes awful people any different, but for folks on a relatively even keel, our collective good will seems to hit that F5 button for the neighborhood, for the community, and for all of us to some degree.

It’s an illusion, I know – but it’s a good one. Never, in my conscious memory, has a holiday season come and gone without some horrific “how could this happen” moments in the news. And this season was no exception. The world doesn’t really get any nicer during the holidays, but that’s no reason for us not to try and make a circle of goodwill that extends for several yards around each and every one of us.

Of course, we should be nice, and charitable throughout the year, and I think most people make some effort to do just that, and THEN they try and step it up during the holiday season. Hey, as long as we’re being nice and charitable, let’s spend a few weeks not letting every possible perceived slight or injustice get us worked up into a lather. Let’s put off putting annoying people in their place for a little while. Let’s match every “Bah! Humbug!” with a “Have a great Christmas!”, or fill in the cordial wish of your choice. It’ll drive ‘em crazy!

Posted:  12/19/2012

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