In the highly addictive farming/dating sim game Stardew Valley, there are random events that you have a marginal chance of experiencing during gameplay. After playing this game on my Switch nonstop for a week, I convinced my sister to get the game, too. We started playing while talking on Facetime. “Oh, the crop fairy just came again,” she casually said during one of these calls. I had never heard of or seen the crop fairy. I looked it up, and learned that it was a rare event where a fairy comes and instantly grows a patch of your crops. The fact that this had already happened to her twice within a few days of playing while it had never happened to me was maddening. But it wasn’t surprising.
Luck is actually a factor in how the day plays out in Stardew Valley. A fortune teller on the TV tells you daily what your luck will be - bad, neutral, or good. There are also recipes you can make that boost your luck. That being said, because I am not lucky in real life, I am subsequently not lucky in this game.
It’s true. I am not a lucky person. I’ve accepted this long ago. I never win giveaways. Opportunities don’t seem to fall into my lap. I don’t find money on the floor. I don’t want to go as far as to say that I have bad luck, but it is decidedly not good.
Nevertheless, I persist, or whatever.
Today, I received the bad news that the apartment we were getting ready to sign a lease on and move into this week was no longer available due to a family emergency in the building owner’s family. This news comes a few weeks after we backed out of a shady place we were about to sign a lease on and move into on the 1st of April. It is safe to say our apartment hunt has been less than lucky. I’m comforted by the fact that my friends who are also apartment hunting in NYC right now are struggling, too — it is simply not a good time for finding a new home here, which sucks even more since a few months ago it really seemed like a renter’s market.
While the news put a damper on my day and distracted me from any other plans, I didn’t feel particularly bad about it. Does it suck? Yes. I was very excited about this place. I loved the location. 10 minutes walking to Astoria Park. 5 minutes walking to Ralph’s Italian Ices. If you know, you know. But I’ve recently been trying to change my mindset, and dare I say, it’s been working.
I admit that I was burning with shame last week when, after my therapy session, I started looking for podcasts that promoted positive thinking. I didn’t listen to any of them. They all looked weird, or were hosted by people I wouldn’t relate to or take advice from. But regardless, I clearly wanted to start thinking more positively. This isn’t a how-to article, by the way. I don’t know how to change anyone’s way of thinking. I don’t even know how I changed mine or how long it will last.
Today, I felt clear-headed, proactive and not like the world was out to get me despite things going wrong again. I really liked that feeling. I’ve read and heard the phrase “accept the things you cannot change” countless times before. But I don’t think I ever really did it before.
I’ve been brainstorming reasons why this mental change is occurring, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
I decidedly wanted to make a change and my mind is magically cooperating
My brain has finally adjusted to the generic Adderall I recently got switched to
I’ve been suspended from Twitter for a few days and maybe that hellsite was a factor in my negative thinking
All of the above
Whatever the case, it sure beats the anxiety I have been unable to escape for the past few weeks.
But on the topic of negative thinking — I hate the way it’s frequently discussed as an undesirable trait in a person that makes them insufferable. Through copy and pasted memes and overly-filtered quotes, people are often happy to show off how much they can’t stand people who don’t see the glass half full. This is upsetting.
There are many reasons why some people tend to think “negatively.” For one, it’s hard to stay positive when you are dealing with a lot of disappointment. After the past year especially, it’s jarring to think someone would still judge someone else for not being a positive thinking, glass half full person.
Also, mental health is a huge factor in how you think. When my anxiety is running rampant, trying to find a positive thought is like pulling teeth, and no amount of CBD oil can fix that. Many times when my mental health was not good and I was dealing with a string of disappointments, I’d see a post on Twitter or Instagram saying something to the effect of, “Stay away from me if you dwell on negative thoughts,” or something implying that people are totally in control of their thoughts, and I’d feel pretty bad about myself. I’ve tried to explain to people before that when my mind is in a negative place, I don’t want it to be there, and I try to get it out, but I’m stuck.
Notably, no therapist I have ever had has tried to tell me that the way I think is wrong or that people are fully in control of their own thoughts.
I also think this is where spirituality can be misconstrued or abused. Personally, I would say that having faith in the universe is what is keeping me grounded right now through a string of disappointments. But fairly often, I have a hard time having faith in anything. Other spiritual people may find power in their thinking and feel in control, and think that anyone who doesn’t operate the same way is doing something wrong.
Accepting the things we cannot change sometimes mean accepting that having negative thoughts is out of our control. It doesn’t always mean that you can find peace in knowing that what’s meant for you will be, or that you can always operate under the idea that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that isn’t good enough. Especially when your livelihood is being threatened.
For now, I’m appreciating having a clear head, despite my housing status hanging in the air. This clear head isn’t something I expect to stick around forever.
As I write this, a Dodie playlist keeps me company, and a line in a song that just came on is fitting: “Oh, but I'm not bitter, I'm just tired/No use getting angry at the way that you're wired.” According to Genius, this line was written after a therapy session, and this is what Dodie had to say about it:
We practiced forgiving people for the way they were raised and the things that they were taught […] and many things have happened to raise these people who look after you and it’s not their fault that they are the way that they are. It was just an interesting thing to explore and kinda learn to how forgive.
While this isn’t specifically a newsletter about forgiveness, in a way, it is. I do implore people to forgive themselves for the ways they feel betrayed by their own thoughts. And I implore people to consider all the factors that go into other people’s modes of thinking, and not scrutinizing them for it. Instead, try having compassion. Try empathy. At the very least, try minding your business.
In spite of everything, I wanted to write today, and so I did. It isn’t perfect, but it’s something I wanted to say and now I’ve said it.
Thanks for reading, and for sticking with me despite my lack of structure in this newsletter.
P.S. If you know someone renting an apartment in Astoria, let me know.
P.S.S. If you can help me get my Twitter account back, that would be chill. I was curiously suspended without reason the day after tweeting about an author’s sexual assault allegations.