Everyone with a blog, soapbox, or pulpit is going to tell you that 2016 has been a strange year. I can’t really fault them for that.
I haven’t written anything for Illogical Life in ages and, while I could try to blame that on work, life, lifting, shifting goals, and broken recording equipment, I’m going to attribute it instead to a lack of vision. For the past few months, and perhaps even more so today, I have no idea what the future is going to look like or how I’m going to get there. But that’s okay.
I’m prompted by the election. I’m prompted by the season. I’m prompted by the fact that I’ve been at this for a year now. But above all I’m prompted by how everyone feels right now.
More now than ever, life doesn’t make sense. And that’s to be expected. If I had to pick a word that encapsulated everything I’ve seen over the past few months, I’d pick jealousy. The fear of valued things being taken. The fear of losing what one considers important. It’s something I’ve seen on both sides of the divide, and it’s something we’ll see more of in the coming months as we face what many would call regressive progress.
We all need to unsubscribe from the bullshit in our lives, and leverage what we know and what we love to make our lives better without relying on politics and pop media to dictate our moods and behaviors. Don’t take moral direction from an external source. Don’t let the way you think and feel be controlled by things and people who don’t recognize you as anything more than a statistic or a tool. Don’t be afraid of your emotions. Don’t shy away from change.
My last article on here (I can’t believe that was back in August; it feels more recent and more topical than that) rambled on at some length about how the intersection of stoicism and existentialism can lead to satisfaction outside of the limits we set on ourselves. Radical self honesty is a tool that, now more than ever, should be used. Be honest with yourself about how you feel and what you can do to change it. Be honest with yourself about why you’re afraid or hurt or even happy right now, and use your self-honesty to guide your actions for further change.
People keep asking, what do we do now? The short answer is to do what’s right. The glib answer is to do what we can. My answer is to help people. It’s what my grandfather taught me to do. A season of change is no excuse to be less compassionate, no reason to stop doing anything that leads to less pain or more progress.
The world likes to tell us that there isn’t enough time. We’re all too busy. We have to rush. We have to make compromises. But what’s really taking up our time? What’s really making us choose between helping others and helping ourselves? What are we filling our lives with, that makes changing our world seem like such a distant and unobtainable goal? What are we distracting ourselves with?
Go on a media diet. Pare things down to what matters and what brings joy. Go for a jog, go cook something, go spend time with your family. Do things that make you think, instead of things that make you forget. Make something. Or at least help me with all of this pickling. Working with your hands and your mind is its own medicine.
Make sure you value the people in your life, even if you have to go out of your way to do it. Build relationships, make friends, meet new people. I don’t care if you’re going to knitting groups or playing board games. I don’t care if you have to drive an hour to meet up with people who match your rhythm. It’s worth it. Feeling like you belong is worth the effort it takes.
Over the next few months I’ll be getting back into the groove of blogging for myself instead of just for clients. I have stories to tell and lessons I’ve learned this summer that’ll be going up here on Illogical Life and over on medium. I have a few hardware/workflow things that I’ll be ironing out, too, and hopefully that means that I’ll be able to follow through on my podcasting goals.
In any case, keep your chin up. We’ve got this shit.