What defines success? Is it an image of it projected to the outside world, or an internal sense of fulfillment?
We all have choices to make in life. But before we can make a choice, we need to have options from which to choose.
We go around asking each other about our careers all the time. It’s the ultimate small talk question: “What do you do?” Our culture emphasizes these roles as part of our capitalist machine: career implies a place in society, a person whose role in production and output fits into a tidy little noun. I’d much rather know what you’re passionate about, what you look forward to doing, what you’d do for free.
A list of words that have, for me, changed in meaning and significance over my life. I'll be exploring these in blog posts in 2021. loyaltystudentemployeecareerchoicewomangoodforgivetrustfaithgodcitizenwhiteyoungorganizedlazysuccessfulproductivehumandevoteddisciplinewrongrightsmartintelligenteducatedcapitalismmoneyhealthentitlementhard workmeritbodystrengthpatriotAmerican Dreamwelfareracismsocialismdeservepridefeministpatriarchypoliticsfeminine gendersexsexualitygaystraightmarriagedaughtersistermothergriefguiltshameangerfearcouragerespectobedienceempathysympathybravefamesatisfactionworkfulfillmentsanecrazycontrolvulnerabilitypassionpermissionstructureroutinebossyambition
This is all about setting our expectations: this is the one thing we can individually control for ourselves. Expecting the world to jump back to how it was is a futile exercise. It might seem comforting, but it’s delusional, and will lead to disappointment that always comes when expectations are not in line with reality.
I do not have words for today. Or rather, mine aren't the ones that are important.
During a pandemic, during a coup, are we equipped to reset expectations and allow each other to process loss and challenge?
Compassion allows me to separate myself from these tendencies and reframe my motivation as understanding myself—being curious—rather than fixing myself. Compassion allows me to remember that I and everyone else are doing the best we can with what we have, and that there is no binary right and wrong.
From the journal entries and freewriting I've managed to do, I created a stanza a week to capture both the personal and world struggles during the pandemic, how "pre-covid" life concerns (aka anxiety/depression) weave with new stresses and situations to create a tapestry of worries and gratitudes, indignation and hope.
My hope for the future is that we can collectively reflect and dream about what a better year would be for the human race—start there, and then define the individual actions we can take towards that resolution.