Have you ever looked in the mirror and evaluated the face looking back? I mean a real deep look. The type that makes you uncomfortable, almost as if you are seeing something you shouldn’t. The type that bothers you a few hours later. It is an interesting feeling. One such that more people should experience. Self-reflection.
Am I doing what I want to be doing?
Am I who I want to be? Am I living my life?
Now, most blogs and articles move on from this point in a very obvious direction. The playbook is simple. Throw in some quotes about finding your passion, link to Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement speech, and tell the reader he or she is beautiful.
I am not going to do that though. I am taking the road less traveled. I am going to admit something I feel very strongly about. It isn’t me that needs to change. I am not the one going down someone else’s path. This isn’t a personal reflection of my life. In fact, I love my life. I’m doing pretty well for myself.
So what was that I saw behind my eyes? What did that curtain cover up?
As I said, the problem isn’t me. It’s you. (Maybe not you in particular, but you, society). You suck.
You have become some blob of forced political correctness and generalized acceptance. You have forbidden individualism by forcing collectivism through individuality. Everyone should be unique and you cannot question anything about anyone. No sir, everyone is perfect. You aren’t though. You aren’t even close. You are just a list of excuses most of which point back to a lack of effort.
Education. Infrastructure. Privacy. Health & Well-being. The Environment. Insert your topic here, the story is always the same. The path chosen is the on of least resistance You want what you want without regard to long-term consequences or those around you. (And yet, they refer to people under 30 as the ‘Me First’ generation).
We are in a race to the bottom because we refuse to acknowledge that we are addicted to kicking the can down the road. And because we have a representative democracy, we would rather say “money buys elections” than realize it is our failure to do more than five minutes of research on the issues and demand that we have a candidate with a clear plan to address those issues.
So…stop it. Stop pretending to be outraged at everything for the five minutes it is cool to be outraged about it on Social Media. Take a stand about something and come up with a plan to fix it. Laying down on the ground to protest police brutality is great… at accomplishing nothing. Posting that you pretended to watch Kony 2012 solved exactly 0 problems in the world. Pretending that voting for one of the two generic politicians that is pushed out in front of you is an expression of your voice only so much in that it confirms that you prefer superficial lip service as opposed to hard truths.
Life takes more than 3 seconds of effort. It is an uphill battle, always. Crying about some “silver spoon in their mouths” family living 3,000 miles away from you is just an excuse. It is a mere hope that doing so will distract everyone around you from the fact that you are scared shitless of taking the first step.
I am telling you. Stop it. Take the first step. You probably aren’t as beautiful as your friends say you are to your face. You probably aren’t as interesting as you think you are. You definitely don’t have it all figured out. No one cares that you don’t feel great about yourself because they, themselves, have 19 trillion things on their list that are higher priority than your feelings.
Direct truth and accountability, that is the prescription. If you are pissed about life, figure out what needs to be done to make it better. The go do that thing. That solution just better not include knocking people down around you. Why? Because why the shit should anyone care about you or cater to your life? That sounds cold as hell, but really, why should anyone bend to your will?
Did you earn it? Did you show that you should be cared about? Or are you just pissed because that someone out there fell into circumstances that made their life appear easier? Clear all that crap away. Leave just yourself in the mirror. Look into your eyes and see what is actually there. Is it alive? Is it ready to get to work? Or is it dead?
Spoiler alert. It is never dead. I don’t care what happened in your life, you can only go forward. Sure you will struggle. Everyone struggles. Everyone has that thing that claws at them under the surface. Some people let it dominate them. Others realize that it can’t be changed and deal with it. So deal with it.
And really deal with it. Don’t pretend to deal with it.
When you are done dealing with it, demand that everyone around you deal with their shit equally. Why should you be the only one to put all the effort in? Demand it from your co-workers. Demand it from your elected officials. Demand it from life as I am demanding it from you now.
I am tired of living in a world where we see the same 10 tragedies happen on loop yet seem to muster up genuine shock for each iteration. I want to come up with solutions to problems not listen to some close-minded child-adult who cannot have a rational discussion about anything. And. AND, before you say “well the Republicans this or the Democrats that or the Tea party or the Green Party or or or….” understand that it is everyone. Those political parties are a) basically the same and b) representative of the people in this country. Stop blaming the “others.”
Eric Garner’s death was a disgusting reminder that we have not figured out how to hold people accountable. I am letting all of you know that I intend to hold you accountable. Will I come of as a jerk? Probably. The time for tact has ended.
“But Drew, if you have it all figured out, what aren’t you perfect?”
I am not perfect. Far from it. It is impossible to be perfect. All we can do is try as hard as we can to get as close as we can. I am renewing my efforts to do just that. I am asking you, society, to do the same.