Turn That Frown Upside Down by Shelly Sutherland
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Shelly Sutherland is a top San Francisco Realtor who has partnered with buyers and sellers of residential property for nearly 25 years. Explore her website at ShellySutherland.com.
When I’m grumpy, my boyfriend facetiously says to me “Turn that frown upside down” which irritates me even more. I’ve been more than grumpy these days: the AQI readings have been bringing me down. The Covid numbers, the political hucksters, the racial tension…so much bad news, right?
Everyone has had moments this year when they unexpectedly “turned their frown upside down”. Recently, my euphoric moment was via NextDoor. We all know how relentless this site can be with negativity, so it surprised me when someone posted “An Optimistic Tribute to San Francisco”.
She wrote about her early days of discovering the City: “An air of freedom and tolerance, almost palpable, was floating in the air. It just felt right. People were smiling at me. I was on another planet. Was I really in the US?” She concluded with “But above all, as someone reminded me the other day, what makes a city are its people and because the people of San Francisco have a soul, the city will rebound. Let’s keep smiling at each other – even with a mask on, just with the eyes…” Her tribute to San Francisco made me smile.
My neighborhood Facebook group in Cole Valley has similar positive messaging and many involve the community getting involved to help struggling neighbors and supporting local restaurants. We’re also trying to understand the complexities of homelessness.
News outlets are crucial to staying informed, but when I get my fill of heaviness, these online platforms provide a welcome reprieve. Some people meditate, exercise, eat tubs of ice cream. I do all of it, honestly, and I think this year, I’m giving myself a lot of leeway to manage the unsettling times.
There is a trend towards reading the “happiness” literature and even universities are offering courses on the concept. Apparently Westerners are not great at being joyful when a milestone has been reached. The tendency is to plan for yet another milestone and keep driving forward.
Shawn Anchor, who wrote “The Happiness Advantage,” has plenty of research to back up the simple solution of practicing gratitude (bet you’ve heard of that before). If most of my time these days is spent in front of a computer, I’m very thankful for the kind neighbors on NextDoor and Facebook. When I can get back to hiking and fresh air with friends, I am committed to joyfully experiencing and celebrating those milestones.
Photo Credit: Nathan Dumlao