I’ll Be Your Neighbor

I went and saw the movie, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” the other day. It’s about the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers, to generations of kids. I had watched the show when I was younger but since it was mostly in the late 80’s I never knew about all the timely lessons/messages he helped to explain to children about war, assassinations, grief, and numerous other important topics that are glossed over in most children’s programming. In my memory, the show was mostly about being accepted as you were and to show kindness and love to those around you.

I was mildly surprised to see how much backlash and personal attacks were directed at a man who devoted much of his life to helping children learn and grow into decent human beings who felt loved and appreciated. I didn’t understand what would motivate people to spew hatred at a message of love. They didn’t appreciate a minister who would accept and befriend members of the LGBT community so they protested at his funeral. He wanted children to feel safe and confident enough to be themselves and accept others as they were and people wrote articles condemning him for “creating an entitled generation,” which confuses me as I never got that from his message. Acknowledging that there is something special about a person without them needing to conform to standards of the day doesn’t mean they are entitled to everything they want with no effort on their part.

I really related to Fred, I completely understood his vision and I openly cried several times during the movie because his message was so close to my heart. I have long advocated for acceptance, for building others up, for kindness, and for leading by example. I wish I could’ve met him and had a chat, I think it would’ve been one of those amazing conversations you almost never get the chance to have.

With Fred no longer around to spread the message of love and acceptance, maybe it’s up to us to carry on in his stead. Will we be viewed with suspicion, ridicule, and anger…probably. However, much like how I feel about the political atmosphere right now, some things are worth speaking out about.

 

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Breaking From Social Media

I don’t really make new year resolutions, but I did make a conscious decision to reduce the level of detrimental substances I ingest for the year. This includes meat, dairy and, as it turns out, social media.

While I don’t really associate wordpress with negative or stress inducing content, it was part of my online routine that included other social media sites that are chock full of divisive rhetoric. The less I checked my phone for updates the more I interacted with other people in real life conversations. I’ve been exercising more and swiping less. Changing my conditioned behavior to opt for reading a book, instead of a news feed, has drastically reduced my online presence but increased my general satisfaction levels.

Since cutting back on the internet I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in my overall mental health, personal relationships, and physical health. Since the initial results have been positive I think my posts here will most likely remain infrequent for the foreseeable future. Unless, of course, there is any interest in participating in an attempt to ignite respectful online discussion/debate about relevant topics. If there is, that would be a project I would love to be involved in.

The Struggle is Real

Getting real tired of opening social media, turning on the tv, or any other type of news gathering option, just to see that the POTUS has once again tweeted some bullshit immature spout off instead of acting in a manner befitting his office. I’m sick of seeing the arguments and reactions it causes. I’m sick of the embarrassment (at best) and horror (at worst) I feel in response to the actions of the government I had very little say in electing. Made the mistake of watching a Netflix documentary called “What The Health” and that made me so fucking sad. Combine that with the very real effects climate change is causing all around me and it’s making it way too easy to want to give in to apathy and depression.

It’s a constant battle every day. Trying to motivate myself to not give in to despair. To rally and find causes worth putting effort into. Clinging to hope in the face of cold logic. Reminding myself to appreciate the little moments of joy I am privileged to experience daily. It’s a struggle, and I’m sure I’m not alone in it. Thank goodness for support networks. Thank goodness for the people who love me and the people who let me love them. For asshole cats who hug back. For the power of music and the feel of a hand holding mine. For that first bite of something delicious made with care. For humor in the face of fear. For hot baths and good books to get lost in. Thank goodness for the little things that allow me to keep going despite the raging swell of negativity that surrounds me. Some days tho…it’s all I can do to get out of bed.

Merry Christmas

Every one deals with existential crisis at some point in their lives. Why are we here? What’s the point of life? What could my purpose possibly be?

Everyone has a different answer.

Christmas time is supposed to be a magical time where you can reconnect to that innocent spirit and remember your belief in magic, in miracles, in the basic decency of humans. Unless you live on Earth in the year 2017.

There is so much devisiveness, so many people and media outlets trying to convince people to pick a side. Hatred and fear infiltrating societies around the globe. Life sustainability threatened on a global scale. Planet that supports human life on the decline. Species going extinct at record rates. Crops and livestock suffering casualties daily. People attacking people every second. Peace on Earth…the most foreign of concepts that no one is willing to embrace anymore.

Is this the end times? Do we stand here and watch as people around the globe do one of three things? Do we watch as they ignore the problems humans have created? Do we watch as people kill one another and the planet we depend on? Do we help assist in the mass genocide of all living things on the planet? Or maybe we chose a fourth option. Maybe we stand and we look fear in the eyes and we say “No, not today, today we elevate and become what we’re capable of. We don’t give in to fear, to hate, to insecurity, and to destruction. Today we recognize that humanity and this planet is worth fighting for. We recognize that money is an arbitrary concept, that we are stronger together. We resolve to put in the effort, to be vulnerable, to choose creation instead of destruction. Today we can embrace the magic of the season and we can make a choice.

Choose life, or choose fear. Up to you, but think hard and think long. Because really it’s on all of us.

Airport Bathrooms

Why am I posting a picture of a tile mural from the entrance to a women’s bathroom in the MSP airport?  Because it’s become symbolic to me. I blame my awesome boss for that, by the way, he pointed out how nice the bathrooms are there in a meeting and now I can’t help but notice, appreciate, and compare all other airport bathrooms to them. I get that they’re just a bathroom in an airport but think about it. You’re traveling, which can be stressful. Plane bathrooms are tiny and gross. These are large and clean, bright and well designed. There are hooks and shelves, well lit mirrors, an area to tuck a stroller in… plus those murals. The whole airport is nice actually. Wide seats, free charging stations everywhere, a good variety of stores and food and it all makes traveling easier and more enjoyable. My hometown airport has set the standard by which I judge all other airports. It helps me appreciate coming home. It reminds me that my motto “do better always” needs to apply to everything, not just the big things. It needs to apply to the small, usually overlooked, things too…like bathrooms. Because those small things are often the unifying factors of humanity. When you do that people notice and they appreciate it and hopefully it inspires them and they can go off and inspire others.

Throwback Thursday (Manifesto of Sanity)

In a society that is increasingly parting ways with integrity, honor, ethics, standards and logic, the opportunity arises for chaos which will tear apart the fabric holding our population together. As a member of this global society you should view it as your duty to help ensure the continuation of the freedoms so many others have fought and died to provide you. Turning a blind eye only gives consent for the behavior that is destroying our collective intelligence and engaging in the destructive behavior should never even be considered an acceptable option. Although the majority of the masses may already have fallen prey to this addiction to drama, the rest of us must stand strong and ever fight to restore the values that are necessary to survive in a world where you do not have to be afraid that every other person around you will either frustrate the hell out of you or screw you over for their own selfish purposes. We must help the contaminated population remember the benefits of living in a world where you could count on your neighbors to have your back, where you actually wanted to spend time with your family, when you were proud of your friends, your house and your job. We need to take back the times where a person’s word meant something and you could trust strangers. A world that is tolerant of other people’s creativity, sexual orientation and religious/political views does not have to be a world that also allows pandering to the lowest common denominator, a denominator that continues to plummet each day to new and more disturbing lows. Regardless of your personal preferences, laziness and wickedness are not justified by any logical argument. Each person is responsible for being responsible for themselves, if you are an able bodied person of reasonable age you should contribute in a positive manner to the society in which you reside. Be kind to others, offer assistance to those who are no longer able bodied, uphold standards, develop a work ethic and a desire to continue growing intellectually. Take pride in your actions and honor your commitments. Accept any limitations you may have and instead of denying or crying in indignation, work to overcome them. Think about the long term effects of your decisions before you act on them, choose healthy options and encourage the same of those around you. Lead by example and always strive to live a life that inspires others. If we make the effort to hold on to honor, integrity, ethics, standards and logic we can have the best this world has to offer. We will have the freedom to go out and enjoy ourselves with the added benefit of knowing we can safely walk down the street. We can go to work and know our tax dollars will be going to maintain the infrastructure of our country and not to corruption. The entertainment industry will once again provide actual story lines in movies and television and not just slap some reality star up there to act like an asshole over and over again. Technology will advance at an increasingly rapid rate because large corporations will no longer supress new inventions just because they may take away from their finite and outdated goods and services. Right now we are circling the drain and if we continue to allow this crazy chaos to thrive our society will crumble past the point of repair. Do not take the quickly declining population of responsible people for granted, if they are not replenished and maintaned then we are doomed. Help restore sanity to the mass actions of this world, believe that you can make a difference and never stop fighting for a planet worth living on.

Lies Are Easy, Truth Is Hard

As I drove home listening to the news I heard about snapchat being valued at 25 billion. Why, I wondered, would it be worth that much? Granted I haven’t used it in years but a friend told me about the new features and how people liked to subscribe to celebrities because presumably they can feel like they know famous people better. It got me thinking again.

Why do many people spend more time cultivating relationships with people over social media or the Internet and less time investing in real life interactions and relationships? Why limit yourself to acquaintance networks that never really scratch the surface of the people in them? Sure social media and acquaintance networks are easy because they require minimal effort to establish and maintain,  but they also offer little back in return and are the equivalent of fast food friendships. Where’s the substance? They aren’t built on a strong foundation and can fall apart much easier because there is such a paltry investment required of them. In relation to the people who follow or subscribe to celebrities,  the entire concept that you have any connection with them at all is basically an illusion. Of course fiction is much easier to create and maintain than real life.

I wonder if it’s this very proclivity towards illusionary,  low-effort relationships that contributed to an environment where someone like Donald Trump could become president. Sometimes I feel like we live in a world where it’s easier to believe the lies than it is to believe the truth. I’m not ok with that. I must belong to that camp of people that value quality over quantity. I value truth over lies even if the truth hurts. I want genuine relationships with the people in my life, I want to experience events for myself and make memories that mean something to me.

How did humanity get to this point? Alternative facts shouldn’t be a thing. Having to be highly skeptical of every single accusation that comes along because there were people willing to lie about events just to create more chaos in the world makes me want to cry and rage, which might have been the point. What message are we sending to the world,  to younger generations? Some things need to matter and effort must be exerted. Yes lies are easy and truth is hard but a world without substance isn’t sustainable.