I thought the world had ended this morning.
I live in a neighborhood near a lovely walking path. My habit now is taking a walk first thing after getting out of bed.
Most mornings, I hear the birds singing, cars leaving their garages heading to work, and traffic in the distance. There is usually some activity, although not enough to take away the serenity of a walk in nature with my raw thoughts and insecurities. This morning, I heard nothing. It was eerie.
It scared me.
It scared me because of the current state of the world. I asked myself if some world leader had finally lost it and started WWIII. Or who the hell knows? My mind went to the worst-case scenario. Oops!
Part of me was relieved at the thought, I have to admit. If indeed the time for the world to end is upon us, I had always secretly hoped it would be a quick ending. I would not have to worry about paying my mortgage and bills, wonder about the arguments I have had with my siblings that were never resolved, think about my career, my health, my cats, and my daughter’s life. Blah, blah, blah.
And I would never have to wonder again if my writing sucks.
The world is in a state of peril. Is that a stupid understatement? We are living in unprecedented times, whether you choose to believe Covid-19 is a hoax or not, or whether you wear a mask or not, you can’t deny that it feels like everything is falling apart.
No one knows how long it will take for the country (and the world) to recover from everything that has happened. People are unemployed, can’t pay their rent or mortgages, standing in food lines, wonder if they are next on the homeless list, and hoping they don’t catch Covid-19. People are losing everything, including their minds. Some have given up.
Thank you, Biden administration, for some relief, right?
What is happening right now is nothing less than bat-shit-insane.
So how do you stay above it all and keep going? On my walk, after I realized the world probably is not ending today (well, darn), I pondered some things:
It’s not my fault (and it’s not yours either).
All this bat-shittery is not your fault. It just happened.
There is so much blame going around everywhere about who is to blame for what. Should President Trump have taken Covid-19 more seriously in Jan of 2020 when he was first presented with information? Of course! But, at this point, it doesn’t matter because blaming never gets anyone anywhere.
We are a society of blaming and not taking responsibility. We blame the Russians, Fauci, the Chinese, Trump, congress, Mitch McConnell, Fox News, the democrats, Joe Biden, or the media. Fill in the rest, please. We even blame esoteric, abstract concepts that most Americans have no clue of the definition: socialism, communism, Marxism, capitalism, anarchy, and neoliberalism.
Then there are the conspiracy theories – I won’t go there.
The point is we need to take responsibility for what is happening and stop blaming. Blaming keeps us in a victim mentality and does not foster change. It makes us bitter and not better. I am not suggesting certain people are not to blame for how they handled the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am suggesting we move beyond blaming and to the solutions. I am suggesting to do what is personally and socially responsible: wear a mask, keep your distance, and get vaccinated.
Action Step: Stop blaming and start doing.
I can’t control it (and neither can you).
Have you ever tried to control someone else? It doesn’t work. All you can do is make suggestions or give guiding principles, but people make their own choices and can’t be controlled. If you have not learned this lesson yet, heed it now. You cannot control others. And as painful as it is to write, we did not control COVID-19 from making its appearance, did we?
The need to control others comes from intense fear. Have you ever thought about that? It is fear that someone else will not fit into your mold of who you think they should be. It is fear that they might do something that doesn’t fit into the society you imagine or want. It is fear that their differences will somehow harm you. You want to control others because this is what you have learned.
Secure people don’t care what others do or what they do with their genitals. They mind their own business and go about their lives without worrying about what others do. They do worry when others attempt to take away their rights, however.
We have to do what we can without controlling others. In regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, not wearing your mask or not adhering to social distancing is NOT controlling the situation. What it is, however, is not taking responsibility for yourself, your family, and society. It is mocking a disease that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you. It is pure ignorance.
Action Steps: Take control of yourself and stop trying to control others.
I don’t know why (and no one does either).
Do you know why things happen the way they do? I sure don’t. Sure, we study why things happen and come to conclusions to try to stop harmful things from re-occurring – and this is a good thing – but do we really know why some things happen? We don’t. And you don’t either.
Life is unpredictable. Your plans don’t always turn out like you planned, your goals don’t always materialize, and your life turns out differently than you imagined. Everyone, at one point or another, experiences this. You cannot avoid it. How many stories have you heard from people who went to college to study X and then ended up with a job doing Y?
Life is unpredictable.
Who imagined Covid-19 severely affecting the economy, shutting down businesses, and ending the lives of people worldwide? That didn’t even enter my consciousness. My guess is that it didn’t enter yours either.
Action Steps: Go with the flow. That is what life is about. Know things will change. Know you might get somewhere where you never imagined. Make memories anyway. Limit the control of life (I didn’t say OMIT the control, because I know that most of us can’t or won’t do that).
I am afraid (and everyone is afraid).
Fear is part of the human experience. We’ve evolved to live afraid.
Fearing, as I mentioned earlier, is the precursor to control. And the constant attempts to control each other and society at large via so many means is the reason this world is in peril. Have you ever studied world history? All the violence, wars, the oppression of women, the enslavement of peoples since the beginning of time is all about control. It’s about having the upper hand. It’s about not knowing a better way to live without having to control others. It’s abuse and control.
(There is that word again, CONTROL.)
Today, we are afraid of dying from Covid-19, afraid of having our rights taken away, or afraid of vaccinations, afraid of … fill in the blank. Some of these fears are legitimate, of course. A raging disease like Covid-19 does not care about you. It does not have a moral compass. It does what it does-invade the body and multiply.
We have become afraid of each other. We are afraid of our differences, of someone who speaks another language, of someone with different skin, of someone who is a republican, of someone who is a democrat, of religious people, atheists, trans people, gay people, and the list goes on ad nauseum. I sometimes wonder if we will ever, as a whole, rise above these fears. Until we do, will we continue to let fear guide our lives?
There has got to be a better way.
Action Step: Stop being afraid of others, or of your own shadow (yes, easier said than done). Fight fear with information. Learn before judging. Become less ignorant.
Knowing what I can or cannot control is key to living my best life, and it’s key for you, too. Knowing no one really knows why anything happens is comforting. It makes it easier for me to give up control. And knowing I am not the only one afraid is also helpful. It makes me realize the goal for my life is to do my best, to be open to change, to go with the flow, and to give up control of others.
Now I know why the birds were silent this morning.