Though it is — almost — the season the be jolly it is not too difficult to be pessimistic, to be cowed by the challenges facing our world.
No matter how heavily humanity’s stupidity and sheer nastiness weigh on an alert mind or heart it is tempting to look away, to have another mince tart and pretend all is well in the world especially as initiating or being a part of positive change seems a increasingly remote prospect.
Yet, in terms of an individual’s, a family’s or a community’s wellbeing, stability and emotional health that seems certain to be counterproductive and exacerbate a simmering, and understandable, sense of powerlessness, anxiety and maybe even anger.
That anger was seen in recent days when the UN recorded that Ireland enjoys the third highest quality of life in the world was seen, rather than as a cause for celebration, to provoke a dam-burst of anger.
The domestic charge sheet is dishearteningly long. Our abject failure to get to grips with a contrived housing crisis may be the most startling, top-of-election-manifesto example.
Yesterday’s inevitable decision by the Oireachtas members’ interests committee, that it could not investigate the relationship between former Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy’s Dáil attendance and his expenses claims, is a comparatively minor if hugely symbolic challenge to the idea of high standards in high places — and not just Mr Murphy’s.
The recent EPA report on the destruction of our water resources is another as is the report that Ireland argues more forcefully that most EU states that scientific advice on threatened fish stocks be ignored to facilitate commercial fishing.
Stagnating wages more home front issues, one more frustrating than the other.
If you like your despair to have an international flavour your choices are limitless.
Just yesterday Britain chose between the lesser of two evils.
Across the Atlantic, the US Congress prepares to invoke legislation provided by America’s founding fathers who had, it seems, a better understanding of human nature than America’s electorate.
President Trump may or may not be impeached but any sanction is unlikely to satisfy the tens of millions who will lose food benefits because of his administration’s determination to cut food stamps.
To add to what seems a building sense of foreboding EU leaders are meeting to, at the 11th hour, agree on carbon reductions.
Yet, as the season to be jolly advances towards peak-turkey our attention will be diverted to how we might remake or recapture our lives in 2020.
Gyms will offer deals in the knowledge that come March our resolve to rebuild physical health may have faded.
Pilates businesses will suggest that they have tremendous powers of restoration. Personal trainers will promise blood, sweat, and beach bodies.
Yet, in the face of the gloominess of the zeitgeist this may be the wrong answer to the wrong question at the very wrong time.
Physical fitness is a foundation of good health but maybe we should consider ways to building more resilient mental and emotional health as the evolving world suggests these qualities will be tested more and more.
To acknowledge this, as an individual or as a community, may just be one of the most empowering options still freely available.