We only live once.  This is the only life we live.  We are here, we live, then we are gone.  So we should live good lives, be good to the people around us, and try to be happy.  As Robert Green Ingersoll is quoted, "

"Justice is the only worship.
Love is the only priest.
Ignorance is the only slavery.
Happiness is the only good.
The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here,
The way to be happy is to make others so.
Wisdom is the science of happiness."

One of the challenges of social media, is we find people with similar points of view, then the allure of living on line takes hold.  It's been shown that, while there are good things about social media, overuse is linked to depression.  Even Facebook admits that passively using social media is linked with worse mental health.  For myself, I was on Facebook to keep alive connections to people who I don't see often, if at all now.  But looking at some of their posts, I found that some promote points of view that made me like those people much less, which saddened me.  Others had points of view I can relate to, but obsess over them so much that I can't bear to read their posts.  When I quit Facebook, I posted that Facebook is a medium that has fostered genocide, ethnic/religious abuses, election tampering, damage to the social fabric of the US, and when that is demonstrated to them, they continue to collect their billions of dollars, sell and leak data, allow systems to stay in place that lead to hacking millions of accounts, and that I could not justify supporting such an abusive and narcissistic company.  So I left.  I don't know if I influenced anyone else to do the same. Imagine, remaining a member of an organization that was a medium for genocide, and did nothing about it, despite having the financial resources, and making mind-boggling high profits.  Anyway, I'm done with that.

That turned out to be a good move.  I really don't feel more isolated off Facebook than I did on it.  In fact, I feel more connected now.  As the world's most introverted person, who is neurologically divergent (I process sensory input differently, which leads to miscommunication, interpersonal difficulties as well as some undeniable successes), I need to be careful about how I interact with people.  When life sent me some things I could not handle, I decided (among other things) that I need to find some kind of purpose and interaction, and sought to volunteer.  It wasn't a quick thought, and if someone had advised me to do it, I would have objected.  But somehow I decided to do just that.  But volunteer to do what?

For starters, I went to volunteer orientations for the Humane Society.  I thought I could deal better with dogs than with people.  However, the local Humane Society has, literally, over a thousand volunteers.  I couldn't handle that.  I thought about the local tree planting group, who has planted thousands of trees around the community.  That was also too social for me.  My neighbor wanted me to join Master Gardeners, but I'm not sure that's right for me either. 

There are lots of ways to find volunteer opportunities online - such as searching "Volunteer in [your town or county]" and looking through those.  Some communities also have a volunteer webpage.   In my town, Meals on Wheels came up.  That turned out perfect.  Now I deliver to about a dozen households, once or twice a week, same people every time.  They are mostly very pleasant and grateful, and happy to see me.  I feel like I'm doing good, and that makes me feel good.  That wasn't enough, however, so I also volunteered for a health services group for LGBT people, which had as its start help for gay men who had AIDS.  I help out there for a shift (5 hours) every other week.  It's more intense, but again the interactions are limited, I like being in the gay environment in a situation where people who are highly stigmatized by society can come for supportive and respectful care, and being someone who can be depended on.  So I feel good, and more connected, and happier for it.

I actually started these in March, the quitting Facebook was in Oct.  However, I feel like by connecting with my community, and feeling like I made my tiny bit of the world a better place, I have a sense of purpose and am much better grounded.  As someone who is retired, I feel that I have a value in society by volunteering, not just how I can be used by my employer, clients, and relationships with significant others.

I don't discuss politics, religion or lack of religion, social warfare, or sexuality at the places where I volunteer.  Well, at the LGBT services center, some sexuality needs to be open, but only as a factoid (a little piece of fact).  People are diverse, and it's nice not to be in a homogenous group. 

I also garden, and after losing my beloved dog, found a new puppy to fill that space in my life.  Not to take his place, but to share life.  That, too, is a big help.  I'm happier.

If I was religious, I could wait to be in the embrace of Jesus, or Allah, or Buddha, after death, to be happier in this world.  But I'm not.  I could spend even more time on line decrying all of the bad things that happen, and how most of the world doesn't share my values, - and that's true, but what good would that do me?  There is evidence that complaining is bad for the psyche, and looking at the brighter side....  As one website states it, complaining rewires the brain to negativity.   I've viewed dying cancer patients who were cheerful and made the people around them cheerful, which made life better for all.  I knew one man with incurable sarcoma who wore a T-shirt that proclaimed, "Not Dead Yet".  If a dying cancer patient can look at the bright side, can't I?

Looking at the sidebar, I wonder if people look at Nexus a few times and decide, it's mostly just unhappy people.  That's too bad.  It would be nice to have a catalyst for good things, to make life better.  You can attract more people with donuts than with kale.

That's my 2 cents.  I hope that there are others who are trying to build happiness in their world, and in their own lives, and maybe would share their experiences and inspire yet more people to do that.  And stop to smell the roses, and have a piece of pie once in a while.

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...you can attract more people with donuts than with kale.

I vaguely remember reading about the chef or writer who may have been responsible for the explosion of kale in America somewhat regretting it, saying that they meant to introduce it in very limited contexts, not as a magically delicious (or not) "superfood" to be included in anything and everything.




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