2016 was a fucking mess of a year. War, terrorism, and our election. It might be the first year in my life in which my predominant memories are not totally self-centered–they are about what happened in the world rather than what happened in “my world”. Still, my world felt crazy. As 2017 came around I knew I would have to change things; living in a constant state of outrage and disbelief and sadness was no longer a way of living I could sustain.
I tried a few different things to get my sanity back; I was searching for a way that I could make a positive impact on the world but not get swallowed up by politics and tragedy. I needed to find joy in the midst of the bad and the sad; it was the only way I could live my life. I marched. I rallied. I protested. I joined an activist group in Brooklyn. I started calling my senators regularly. I went off of Instagram and Facebook. It was all trial, with some success, and some error. I learned a lot. First, I realized that constantly trying to measure my impact is futile; there is enough value in reaching or helping even one person. Second, I learned that I only have so much time. There were a few months where I was wearing myself thin going to rallies and meetings and protests. I learned quickly that I would be more effective if I committed myself to fewer projects and focused on something I felt consistently passionate about. Which leads me to the third thing I discovered: I only want to do things if I can give them my all, and I can’t give something my all if it doesn’t wholly align with who I am. Case in point: my activist group in Brooklyn. I met so many amazing people there, some that I am even still in touch with. But in whole, there was a very strong politically democratic focus in their goals and that helped me with my decision to step aside. This might seem strange as I lean very far left politically. But the truth is, I am tired of the right and the left. I am tired of having issues that affect poor people and minorities and women politicized for financial and power gains. It makes me sick. So when the group talked of going to support local democratic candidates that I didn’t really believe in solely because they were the democratic candidate, I knew I had to focus my energy elsewhere.
All of this led me back to blogging–because my passion for writing and connecting with people does not waver. I’ve found that I connect most sincerely with people through writing about the things that I love–running, travel, wellness, food, and life lessons.
This is all great. But then this administration makes moves to fuck the environment. And then terrorists plow their cars into crowds of innocent people enjoying a warm spring evening. I wanted to share today about our trip to Portugal; we just got back last night. But suddenly, that seems, well, stupid.
But I know that it’s not. And I will share Portugal with you. But I had to pause, and just acknowledge that I am conscious of how much bigger the world is than me. For the moment, I have not been personally touched by tragedy. This allows me the freedom to participate in, write about, and explore the joy in the things that I love. I know that not everyone gets this. I know that some people have this and then get it taken away from them. I know I am one of the lucky ones.
Chaos and tragedy did not begin nor did it end in 2016–life continues. I am going to keep finding happiness and I am going to help other people realize their joy. Terror’s reach will be far more devastating if we’re to let it extinguish the love and the light in life that define our humanity. The good things in life are as real as the bad ones. Still, I couldn’t bear to tread the line of escapism. I can’t and won’t acknowledge every attack or death that happens around the world. I won’t always speak out (besides to my husband) when an abhorrent decision is made by our government. But, I did just want to say that finding my way of coping with the current state of the world and allowing myself some sanity does not diminish my care for victims, nor my hope and drive for the betterment of all our lives.