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How We Should Be Living Life Now

Don’t believe the idioms, let’s look deeper in 2021

Illustration Yuliya Bruy"

It’s Mercury Retrograde right now and, since it’s influence may continue through election day, I’m going to be more careful when communicating here on Medium. For this post, specifically, I’m choosing my words carefully using the tried and true statements of others.

Here’s what I want to share: I’ve been worrying about taking off my rose-colored spectacles and setting down my half-full glass. I’m afraid that if I keep putting on a happy face, I won’t be ready if the clouds don’t have a silver lining. Even worse, it may get darker before the dawn.

Please don’t think I’ve buried my head in the sand. I just don’t want to believe we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But, what if — for Pete’s sake — it is what it is?

Sorry. I don’t mean to idiom you to death. I’ll take a deep breath.

It’s just that right now it’s hard to breathe — and it’s not because I live in California where the air is still thick with wildfire smoke. Every morning I wake up to bad news, stumble upon egregious posts, and then wade through the day observing aggressive human behavior. Every minute I feel myself being pulled toward the rabble, allowing outrage to overwhelm me. Dare I add, my blood begins to boil.

Sometimes, though, I have a different reaction that seems worse. I reflect on the latest horrific whatever and my shoulders start creeping toward my ears, the semblance of a shrug.

This gesture is more frightening — the feeling of helplessness, the fear that no matter what I do, what we all do, nothing can change our current situation.

Martin Seligman — where are you when we need you most? I’d almost forgotten that this famed psychologist, who studied the depressing psychology of ‘learned helplessness.’ followed that up in 2000 (the dawn of this new century) with research into ‘positive psychology.’

Instead of hoping for the best while preparing for the worst, we humans have been known to stop trying. We accept our fate. We stop swimming, we tread water.

Well, please snap out of it! We all need to wake up and smell the coffee! Don’t believe we’re at the end of our rope! Stop ‘doomscrolling’ through the media, searching your memory banks for horrific history and projecting only pain for our future. I’m talking to you in my mirror.

This pandemic will not end life as we know it. This election will not ruin the future of our country. We must resist the temptation to wrap ourselves in doom-and-gloom.

On November 4 or whenever those pesky ballots are finally counted, we will all have to move ahead. As a country, we must pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off.

Instead of working against something we don’t believe in, we’ll all need to start working towards the things that we do. That’s what resilient people do, that’s the only way we’ll help ourselves and each other.

Being anti-racist means we’ll have to work harder to become better allies. Being anti-establishment means we’ll need to start creating better systems. Being left or right means we’ll have to start finding a common center.

The list goes on and on.

Like many others, I’ve spent much of this year, actually the last four years, being against something (er actually someone and all of the somethings that have gone along with that). But really, I want to be more focused on what I do stand for and actually stand up for it. It’s been difficult because I haven’t been able to see the forest through the trees. Have you?

I could further argue that many of us have spent the greater part of our lives as hedonists — focused on our own pleasure, our needs & wants, our personal stake in happiness. If 2020 has shown me anything, it’s that I need to strive further. Hopefully, this year has made us all realists.

Look, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to head into 2021 as a maniac. I want to be EUDAIMONIC. Don’t you?

I hope we can work towards that — no matter what happens.

And, no I won’t explain how to achieve it. Don’t be an old dog, learn some new tricks!

I’ll be waiting over here with my specs on and a full glass when you do.

Here’s a video if you really want to know more:


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