Mental Health
The legacy we choose

The legacy we choose

I don’t know about you, but from what I can tell, everyone seems to be struggling. The energy is heavy in every direction. It’s hard to find reprieve. How are you holding up? Are you hanging in there? My beloved readers, we are going through something that will redefine us as a nation and on a global scale. History books will need their own section for this period in time, if not their own entire publication. Unlike any time in history that we have experienced, but with so many similarities to tragic days of the past.

I typically come to you with some uplifting words about finding the light in the darkness, overcoming obstacles, or healthier alternatives to our fast paced, mainstream culture. Lately, that has been a struggle for me. Like the rest of you, I feel the heaviness. I wake up each day and decide what kind of day it will be. Some days joy wins. Kinda. Other days, I just want to crawl right back in to my cozy, warm bed. Some days hope wins, and despite my desire to avoid coming face to face with all this madness, I pull myself up and find ways to make the best of it. The one thing I know for sure, is that one day at a time, this too shall pass.

I have been able to navigate my life, mostly unscathed by Covid. I don’t spend much time at public gatherings, I work from home, and most of my entertainment of choice is outdoors, so the impact that it has had on me personally, has not been as profound as others.

 

That being said, the toll that it has taken on our society has my heart broken. I think the division amongst us is probably what weighs heaviest these days. We are divided over everything. We all know how it goes. “Divided we fall”. We are essentially living in societal warfare. Is that even a term? I firmly believe that war has already begun in our country, and that many simply refuse to see it or admit it to themselves. After all, this is America. That can’t happen here.

Except, it is. It is happening right in front of us. How do we come back from this? If you don’t believe that war has already begun, tell me, how do we come back from this? Is there a president who can fix it? Is there a politician who can fix it? Is there an administration that can fix it? A law? A tax? What can fix this mess we have made for ourselves, short of a societal collapse? We have dug ourselves a hole so deep, that there is no climbing out of this one. It’s going to require a complete demolition and rebuild.

It’s normal to have a tragedy or two. Maybe even three in a year. But this is some next level crap we are facing. So divided that I struggle to find words that will fit for the masses. That if I use the word “pandemic”, half of you will feel compelled to come at me. Tell me it’s a hoax. The other half will call those people idiots and selfish knuckle draggers. It’s ridiculous. We should at least all be able to agree that real or not, this pandemic has affected each and every one of us on some level. Your job? A loved one? Division over masks and vaccines? No one is untouched by it. Many have lost friends and loved ones over this mess. Many have lost their livelihoods.  Many have decided things about others that simply aren’t true, because they lumped them into a political category. People feel lonely and estranged.

And why shouldn’t they? We are divided on nearly every single issue. We are in the midst of a race war. We are in the midst of a class war. We are at war with each other spiritually. We are at war with ourselves on every front. Can you think of any area that we are not divided on? Any part of society that we all just agree on? I mean, we are even divided over food. Is there one thread of common ground left for us to cling to in hopes of salvaging this society?

And speaking of society. As if we don’t already have enough problems with homelessness, poverty, healthcare, and a generally weak infrastructure, now we have a pandemic, a trucker shortage, a nation wide employee shortage, shelves that have never rebounded at the grocery stores, ships getting stuck, natural disasters at an unprecedented level of occurrence. A national debt so high that our children’s children will be born with unsurmountable debt. A time when, more than ever, we need to be working together and finding real world, outside the box solutions to the things that just aren’t working, and we are divided.

This inflation isn’t going to improve. It’s going to continue like a snowball, until it crashes. If you think lumber, food, and fuel costs are high now, I assure you, the day will come when you miss these prices. Folks, we need to stop with all the bickering and vitriol.

The children of the future are going to read about us. We get to decide what impression they walk away with. We get to decide how to respond to this madness. We get to choose if love or hate rules us.

We are the only hope. It is up to us. As individuals, and as a society. The problem is, while we all have the goal of a loving, healthy society, we each also have our very own unique definition of what that looks like. What are we going to do? How are you and I going to fix this? The helplessness is certainly lending to the air of defeat and hopelessness. Each of us, on our own, as an individual, feels powerless to stop this snowball and see something turn around.

I think the answer is that we get over ourselves and start working together. I think we have to set aside our hatred and judgment of each other. We have to stop with the childish name calling and keyboard warrior attacks on those who think something different than us. I think we need to get out of each other’s way, and start lifting the heavy load together, on the count of three. Ready? 1…2…

We can let it destroy us, or we can see it as an opportunity to do better. People are realizing that they don’t need two incomes. That there are other ways. That they can slow it down. That this fast paced society we live in is not mandatory. Closures forced people out of jobs and forced households to learn how to cut extra costs. People learned to work differently. That they could work remotely, or they started selling handmade goods to try to ease the burden of lost income. People started bartering again. People learned how to cook at home and save money on eating out. People didn’t go to the movies or shopping every weekend, and learned that nature is a giant playground. People panicked over food shortages and started learning how to grow their own food again. With that, people started learning about food biodiversity and healthier diets. People cancelled cable to cut expenses and found other ways to spend their time. People learned new skills and hobbies to fill the time. Some people learned that homeschooling was not as hard as they thought it would be. Others learned that they truly prefer for someone else to teach their kids. Everyone learned something new about themselves in all this chaos. Society is unlikely to ever look the way it did pre-covid. What do we do with all of that? Do we toss it to the side and discount it as worthless? Or do we glean some wisdom from it and change how we do things. Do we finally understand that our just in time society is fragile, and start new routines that try to overcome that fragile system, or do we just toss it aside with a giant “phew” and go back to how things were?

The children of the future are going to read about us. We get to decide what impression they walk away with. We get to decide how to respond to this madness. We get to choose if love or hate rules us. We get to choose our legacy. Will it be a legacy of division, and a fallen nation? Or will it be a legacy of love, and working together to solve problems by hearing other perspectives and finding something that works? Will we lead future generations by showing them how to overcome obstacles by looking for outside the box solutions? Or will we keep doing what we have been? Do we show them that giving up, giving in, and breaking down society because everyone is too stubborn to work together is the way to go?

You guys. This is up to us. We are the only ones who can change it. We have to decide if we will let hatred destroy us, or if we will rise up to be the resilient species that we claim to be and find ways past our obstacles?

We have to decide if we are going to let the feelings of defeat and hopelessness rule this time, or if we are going to be the change?

We can’t be the change with hate. Hate creates more hate. If we use ugly to create change, the change we will get will be ugly. If we want goodness and love, then we need to use goodness and love to make the changes. I know I say it far too often, but folks, we need to be the change, and we need to try to set aside bickering and judgement to do so. We need to do it now. We can’t wait any longer for someone else to step up and do it. This is on us folks. What legacy will we choose to leave?

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