Mass (Media) Hysteria
Last Thursday, warnings began to emerge about a blizzard coming our way. It was to dump 20 centimeters over the city on Sunday and Monday. Homeowners were advised to stock up on groceries; motorists were warned to stay inside and only experienced drivers were to venture out.
Reacting to the news, I spent the weekend preparing for the onslaught. I cleaned out the garage to make room for the cars; I reorganized closets so that winter gear would be easily available; I dutifully stocked up on groceries, so no one would go hungry and I called an out-of-town client to suggest rescheduling our Monday morning appointment. And then… nothing! We waited for it and it didn’t come. There was a dusting of snow on Sunday night and a sprinkling of rain on Monday and nothing beyond that.
I know we are living through difficult and historic times and there is real cause for concern about a great many things. However, recently, it seems that much of what we have been seeing, hearing and reading is charged by an excessive use of hyperbole. There seem to be predictions of disaster and impending doom at every turn. While hype has always sold the news, ‘breaking news’ seems to be breaking out 24/7. At what point does selling the news become part of a bigger problem?
For those of us who are always waiting for some disaster, this just adds to our anxiety. For those of us who always assume everything will work out just fine, we may not pay attention to the warnings after repeatedly being told the sky is falling. The reality is that none of us really knows what the future is going to bring. There are just too many variables to make any definitive statements about it. We can try to make informed plans, but really, we need to wait and see.
We can, however, comment about the past. And given that we are drawing close to the end of another year, I thought it might be worthwhile to look back on some of the highlights of 2008 for each of us. While we can all easily list many of the lowlights, let’s contemplate and celebrate all the good things that have happened to us over the past twelve months.
And on a final note, I thought I would share the following:
Last Friday, I made my way through the crowds of holiday shoppers at Yorkdale Shopping Centre, where our office tower is located. Giant wreathes decorated with shiny, oversized, baubles lined the halls; enormous stars suspended from the skylight and a cluster of huge Christmas trees provided the backdrops for two dazzling light shows (Youtube video). As I inched my way into the horde that filled the Apple store, a woman standing next to me asked, “Do you see any signs of a recession?”
Whatever you celebrate, I wish you all the very best of the season. Thank you for your continued readership and all the best in the New Year.
Barbara Fish, M.Ed.
Personal and Career Counsellor
“Helping Your Life Work”
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