As the circulating memes indicate, it’s tough to be someone who cares about the greater good right now.
It’s hard to track how our actions have ripple effects on our immediate circles, our communities, the greater area, the planet, and the universe. We wear masks so your grandma doesn’t have to worry about catching COVID-19 while she’s mall walking.
Yes, one day we’ll all return to being stars again. But wouldn’t it be great if future generations could have a good time while they’re Earthbound, too?
It’s overwhelming to be that person right now. The war in Ukraine is a grotesque display of Russian imperialism from a bygone age which, paired with QAnon propaganda, Jan. 6 trials, a highly partisan Supreme Court, and the Kardashian media machine, begs the question of what is actually real? What actually matters?
And now freaking Monkeypox?!
It would be one thing to simply bounce. To beg off and out of the dialogues. To tacitly observe the inevitable fall of democracy (right on schedule according to some economists and historians) and continue scrolling. To binge “Stranger Things” and whatever else the algorithm tells you you’ll like. Buy all your necessities from Bezos via Amazon (or lie to yourself shopping at Whole Foods).
It would be so. dang. easy.
But it isn’t for a feeling person. And I’m more than a feeling person. I’m a mom. I have a two-year-old daughter who is curious and sensitive—another feeling person in the works, I’m afraid. She’s kind of a little weirdo who loves watching sea turtles and deep-sea divers on Tik Tok. And I’m determined that she will get to swim with her beloved, at-risk turtles someday.
So I make the extra trips to the co-op for our food and toothpaste and necessities instead of donating to the Walton family. I cross reference resources from apps like Goods Unite Us and The Better World Shopping Guide because, as the name implies, I want to create a better world.
I lug her stroller to pride marches, protests against the Supreme Court, and exercise Thoreauvian civil disobedience. And then we go home to water and nurture our gardens. She is learning that complacency is complicity; she’s learning when it’s important to take up space and when it’s time to let others lead, when to use her voice, and when to listen—and that there’s still room to take it easy and enjoy the Starbucks cold foam every now and then.
The law of large numbers tells us that nothing is impossible, merely statistically improbable. Climate change is here, epidemics won’t stop, and there’s so much else that really feels like we’re in the worse timeline. But Boris stepped down from Prime Minister. Killer whales aren’t part of SeaWorld anymore. The monarch butterfly population is returning.
Good things that seemed improbable are happening. And that gives me enough hope for her and all the other feeling folks out there.
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