Recent years have been a time of pressing questions for humanity. We stand at a historical junction where we can embrace an uncertain future or cling to a rose-colored past that is neither glamorous nor fair as some people desire to remember. Democracy is on a razor’s edge, autocrats are on the march, social unrest has reached a boil, and the earth cries out as climate change sends us warning after warning if only we would listen. And the pandemic, of course, has decimated lives, upended economies, and kicked disinformation into overdrive. None of the issues we face are tidy or will be resolved soon. For a world raised on neat and clear-cut stories, the thought that we may be in this for the foreseeable future is exhausting. It can leave you demoralized, beaten down, and paralyzed with indecision. Like many, I have also hit the pandemic wall. At times it feels like groundhog day with the same routine over and over.
Each of us processes these challenges in our own way. For myself, this has led me to reevaluate what my priorities are. My writing, for example, has continued sporadically, but all the issues stated above have taken precedence.
Last March, my partner and I contracted a severe case of COVID that went on for two months. There was roughly a week-long period where I wondered daily if we would make it through. The lingering effects of that sickness led me to be more grateful than before. It made me more aware of savoring each moment, whether playing with my children, taking a bike ride, or doing something as mundane as washing the dishes. I have by no means mastered this and probably never will, but I find myself trying more, and that is a start.
I come out of this time of contemplation with a stronger understanding of why I write and a greater responsibility to what I put into the world. I have finished a novel and hope to release it in the fall. I am recommitted to the work that I do, but also understand that I am only human and that it is okay to let go with no feeling of guilt. I don’t need to compare myself to others. The highest success is focusing on my own happiness and being committed to my family, friends, and striving to make the world better than it was before. As I mentioned, there are no easy answers, only the beginnings of understanding and what I hope will lead to wisdom.
What big questions have you struggled with over the last year? What answers have you found?
3/1/2021 08:46:24 am
I have struggled with the decision to not be nice. And to let people who slipped down the Q and Trump holes go. For so long I wanted to be the "see, I'm a democrat, I'm nice, I don't eat babies and here is some joy and beauty for your day" person. Now I just cut people out of my life, because I can't stand to watch the level of dysfunction, hate, misinformation they spread. People who have been a part of my life, my family for many years. And while it's brought me some external peace, I still struggle with whether further isolating them will get them to see what they have given up, or leave them in their own echo chambers happy as can be.
3/1/2021 12:12:33 pm
I wrote something similar that I cut from the published post. When I mention no easy answers, this is in part what I am talking about. I spent months last year reading and thinking about how to have conversations with the people you are describing and bring them back to reality. Even experts in this field have no real-world advice on cutting through the delusional place these folks live in. I have had a couple of friends plunge headfirst into the seething cauldron of web conspiracies and mean-spirited political beliefs. There is no discussion when I reach out, and they only accept compromise, never give it. I am not sure what can be done. I continue to be "nice" and hope that keeping channels open will allow them to come back at some point. Other than that, I don't know what to do to break their fever dream. I fear that misinformation and demented conspiracy theories are here for a long while.
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