15 Reasons To Be Optimistic About The Relatively Near Future

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15 Reasons To Be Optimistic About The Future

I know that every election is "the most important election we've ever had," but this last one was, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, a "total moronic sh*t show that has made all of us likelier die painfully and fully experience our slow descent into the fiery pits of a 9th hell." Well, joke's on Gandhi — per Dante, the 9th level of hell is the really cold one.

You're likely beyond exhausted and have lost your faith in mankind, if not science and progress and the holy church. And even if the person you wanted to win did so, life seems less hopeful and cordial than a few years ago.

Some people want to blame the "media" for only reporting the bad news, but A) "media" is hardly a monolith, and B) blaming them for crummy news is like only really paying attention to the weather when it's too hot to sleep or too cold to bone.

This is the part when I ask you if you're a glass-half-full or half-empty person. Where I ask if you think the center holds. Where I ask if you think we quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. We live in the greatest time in human history and while it could be much, much better, by many measures we're going in that better direction. Delightful.

Here are 15 reasons to be amped about the very near future

1. There will be two Star Wars films in the next year or so.


Some of you will herald the diverse casting, others will be sucked into the nostalgia of a saga hitting its 40th birthday, and further there will be some serious John Williams fans looking to catch one of his epic scores in a theater. Note: Rogue One hits theaters on December 16, 2016 and WILL NOT feature music from Williams, though Episode 8, premiering on December 17, 2017, will. 

2. An effective male birth control is close to being on the market.

Sure, some "media" reported that they had to prematurely end a trial because men couldn't take the upsies and downsies of hormone treatment, but we've gotta be edging towards a solution that doesn't involve lasers or scalpels near striking testicles.

3. The Cubs won the World Series. 

For some of us, this means a long-suffering team finally gets its time in the sun. For others of us, it means we can stop hearing about long-suffering fans finally getting their time in the sun. Ideally, they won't become as obnoxious as Red Sox fans but the number of brand new Cubs hats I've seen in the past few weeks makes that seem unlikely. 

4. Violence in America has been declining for decades.

Despite the number of incidents which have adorned front pages and shocked our nation, we're getting somewhat better at not stabbing, shooting and punching one another. Maybe our lack of tolerance for violence has just made instances of it, waning or otherwise, so much more galling. 

5. Venmo is in full swing.


Yes, one of your cheapskate friends will still "forget" to ever pay you for anything. But for the rest of us, wrapping up drinks or dinner or going halfsies on a gift is way less of a pain in the keister. We'll all be on easy street when strippers and drug dealers start taking it... not sure if that's good or bad.

6. We can rely on Snopes.

The trickiest thing about the age of information is that no one would ever mistake it for the age of truth. Being bombarded with information, particularly when that data is provided to you based on some level of source bias, makes it really tricky to figure out exactly what's what. While you'll find errors on Snopes here and there, it's not especially politicized. 

7. Cracking your knuckles isn't bad for you.

Irritating to see and hear? You bet. But it won't actually cause arthritis.

8. You're less likely to get divorced than your parents. 

There has been a phenomenal amount of misinformation regarding the divorce rate in America, but it most certainly appears that it's on the decline. Sure, people are delaying or forgoing marriage in favor of cohabitation but it appears we're getting divorced less. Famous biological anthropologist Helen Fisher refers to this as "slow love" and maybe it's working out for us all.

9. Gluten is not bad for 99 percent of us.


Refined sugar is still terrible. Welp, moderation. 

10. Your brain is spectacularly powerful and regenerative.

Like Wolverine. Exactly like Wolverine. With deliberate action — thought, nutrition, mental exercise and more — you can forge new neural pathways through twin processes neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. You CAN learn to play the piano or to speak a language at an advanced age. 

11. Newman's Own makes some damn delicious food.

Before Tom's Shoes (no relation) and Warby Parker (also no relation), Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and A.E. Hotchner formed a company whose job was to provide quality food and donate all after-tax profit to charity. Yes, the pizza, popcorn, and lemonade are best in class but if you need to make a quick dinner, I highly recommend marinating chicken breasts in his balsamic vinaigrette and baking those suckers for 15 minutes.

12. If you're reading this website, you likely love dogs as much as people.

Well, good news: dogs love you back. While it's likelier that they think you're a dog than they think they're people, it feels good to know this for sure. Sure, we can file this under "no sh*t, science," but it's still pretty awesome when you think about it. (Note: dogs may love you but they still lick their b-holes and then kiss you.)

13. A great escape is just a funny headset away.

Oculus Rift and several other companies are making huge strides in creating Virtual Reality simulations. Being able to take a quick, inexpensive and engrossing vacation is closer than ever. Prefer not to stick your head in the electronic sand? Augmented Reality may be more your speed. Essentially, it's overlaying data and imagery over a real life display. Think Pokémon Go meets Google Glass but less of a colossal waste of time. 

14. Weed is now legal in multiple states.


And this is a headscratcher. The same electorate that put Trump in office largely voted in favor of various forms of medicinal and recreational marijuana. Though I'm not a reefer smoker, I appreciate that we have a monumental problem with painkillers, prescription and otherwise. Additionally, this could alleviate our shameful mass incarceration problem. Finally, we can all hope for a day when people stop talking about it.

15. We can't be that far from having sex robots.

I was probably the last person interested in Ex Machina to see it, but that seems realistic, right? Again, not sure if good or not. 

Irrespective of whom you voted for, we can all use a dose of something to look forward to. Do something nice for yourself today and, if there's an opportunity to help someone who is hurting, do it.