Sunday, June 14, 2020

Confession Time

Warm Springs, Virginia 

1. I deal with imposter syndrome every time I write: over a decade in I still feel woefully unqualified to comment publicly about important issues. 

2. I allow past mistakes to hold too much power over me: I know the train of history pulls in one direction, but I struggle with letting go. 

3. I often allow negative moments to overshadow positive feelings: it sucks because I'm always telling other people to avoid negativity.

4. There are times when finding peace of mind seems impossible: this isn't too often, but when it happens it happens.

5. I'm not a broken person: but sometimes my insecurities take over and make me believe I am.

6. I never want to be sad again: I know it takes saddness to enjoy and appreciate the good times, but I still don't want to hurt more than necessary. 

7. I don't spend enough time with the people I care about: I know this and still haven't made a better commitment to resolving this problem. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

What Surviving "Tha Rona" Can Teach Us!

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.    ~Simon Sinek

That “Rona” is wrecking lives across the globe. All of us know people who have endured economic hardships due to the virus. This adversity presents us with an opportunity to challenge some of our previously held beliefs about money and wealth accumulation. There are people learning the hard way that income and wealth are different.

Wealth is an abundance of assets, property and money. We work for income, but wealth works for those who have it. A lot of responsible and well educated people have found themselves on the outside looking in. Many of them were already drowning in a pool of debt tied to their education and lifestyle choices. Having a steady income allowed them to avoid the economic reality of their situation. There are people coming to grips with the fact that they weren’t rich or even securely middle class.

The ideological trappings that lead to "economic Darwinism" are steeped in superiority complex. There are people for whom having a comfortable life isn't enough; they need to chase the Joneses or become them. 

There's nothing wrong with wanting more, but when this mentality becomes pathological and causes people to see economic hardships or poverty as moral failings it becomes toxic. 

My hope is that once Covid-19 is behind us we won't lose sight of the shared economic anxiety we felt. I know this is myopic, but maybe we can end the selfish “I got mine so forget everyone else” mentality. Maybe we can become more sympathetic to the plight of others.

We all know people who are working to the bone, yet barely getting by. Inflation and stagnant wages have doomed a majority of our country to a perpetual race against the bills due on the 1st and 15th. Yes, there are people who make bad decisions that add to their financial struggles, but that subset doesn't represent the larger group of working class people. 

If the Corona virus forced you to restructure your life to survive an emergency, why can't you use that same energy to pursue work, a career or goals that fulfill you? 

There are people who will lose everything and have to start over; there are people who will be forced to change careers; some will spend years trying to recover, but there will be people who thrive because of what they've learned about themselves. All of the death and pain caused by this virus will be in vain if we don't challenge ourselves to look critically at the way we were before and during this crisis. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Real Talk: Some Things to Ponder.

The last time I knew it all I lost it all!

Be appreciative of your struggles. It's funny: when God delivers you he doesn't ask who your parents are? What schools you went to? What social class you belong to? All of those things come from us. We use these elementary classification systems to "place value" on each other's life.

In every religious text wisdom is the measure of maturity. You can measure smartness, but you can't measure wisdom. Smart makes someone born on third base think they hit a triple while wisdom humbles them into their blessing. 

As a society we have collectively turned a willful eye towards the spectacles of our culture: me included. There was a time when the circus was a place we went to, then one day we woke up and decided to put the clowns in charge of everything. 

We need a 21st century Renaissance more than a revival or revolution. There's a chance all of the spiritual musings we see are in vain and what we really need is a new era of critical thinking. 

What if we are so empty that our worship of money and unfettered and unregulated markets are all that truly unite us? What if our consumption is all we have? 

When I hear people wantonly push for markets to reopen and life to get back to normal all I hear is desperation. There are people whose desire to have more is worth more to them than the life or lives of those around them. 

This season of quarantine will pass and some of us will be in better positions because we had to slow down and reevaluate what is important to us. 

In the end we survive everything we encounter until one day our time here is done. All we can safely control is how much time and energy we focus on ourselves, our loved ones and our goals.