I didn’t feel this dark about things in 2008 or 2012. I disagreed with the other candidates, but I didn’t think they were dangerous for the country. And with the relentless news cycles focusing on Donald Trump (man, I feel hot acid reflux in the back of my throat even just typing his name), I’ve just felt pretty disgusted about things.
So what gives me hope for it all?
I posted the question on my Facebook page and I got some nice, hope-filled answers. Here are my thoughts about it:
Seeing my friends do the things they’ve always wanted to do. Whether it’s get a new job that they’ve always wanted, achieve a health goal, get into med school, record an album, open for their comedy hero, travel to a new place, get married, have a kid, or just do something that deflects and refracts all the negative crap we constantly see in the world.
Facebook can become a tired place with all the photos of happy people smiling and saying that they are #blessed, but those posts of joy come from a real place. (Or I’d like to believe that most of them do.)
We’re force-fed millions of bits of negative, awful information every day. There’s outrage, then there’s backlash to that outrage, and we think that if we just get in that little jab at the end of the sentence, then we’ve won that day. (Or at least that news cycle.)
What gives me hope is that not everyone or everything in this world is divisible into different compartments. While the internet has given birth to 21st century tribalism, we’re a lot more different than we give ourselves credit for. We all do things that are unexpected. We can be better than what is expected of us by the market. These are just a few of the stories that I can think of:
A friend of mine, who is also a former teacher, got accepted into medical school about two decades later than the typical student. If I hadn’t talked to him since high school, I would have imagined that he continued work at a boarding school. That would have been all right, but that’s not what happened.
Another friend is moving to work on the South Side of Chicago. He could have moved back home, but he feels called to work in one of the most challenging environments in the country.
Another friend just posted that she was celebrating 11 years of sobriety. I’ve only met this friend IRL once, but she inspires me with her zest for life (or at least what I can make through her Facebook page.)
Another friend whom I used to work with has moved up the chain from being a scrap heap blogger to being one of the most notable sports media people in Boston.
Another friend is valiantly standing up to a store that sells horrific shirts that promote a culture of sexual assault. I’ve seen many friends join the cause.
And other friends continue to live their daily lives with heart, grit, and passion. They cook, they clean, they take care of other living things day after day without thinking of themselves. They dig into things they love, causes they care about, and things they want to see changed. They are not driven by fear, but love. They don’t want attention, they just want to do their part.