This one’s a bit more serious. There are no ferrets. Or hammocks. Or ferrets in hammocks. But read it anyway, because you never know…
It makes me sad that many people seem to thrive on WE’RE ALL DOOMED!
As someone that struggles with despairing moods almost daily, the realm of Life is Terrible is the last place that I want to dwell in.
Yes, I sometimes wake in the night fretting about the futility of my life: debt, despair, disappointment, death. So much to look forward to. But why would I choose to keep thinking on awfulness?
What’s worse is that said doom-mongers shout their (oft ill-informed) messages vociferously – as though it’s important to enlist others to their world of insecurity and hopelessness. (Rally people to a defined cause: fair enough. Whine about the price of fish: pointless).
When I made the foolish error today of attempting to balance this sort of thing (I ought to know better at my time of life) I was swiftly stamped upon. Worse; I was compared to Eric Pickles. Which is unfair. All that Eric and I have in common is our partiality to the occasional wafer thin slice of cake.
I don’t want people to feel gloomy, angry and anxious. Such emotions tear away at your soul and affect everyone around you. Surely what we all want is happiness, not hopelessness?
In the UK the economy is bad and the welfare state is on rocky ground (this is the issue that earned me a stamping). I don’t dispute that. AND ALSO there are a lot of impressive things happening. Quieter people – who I hope will read this and start to make more noise – are busily taking action to improve their own lives and the lives of others.
These people are finding one another and setting up schemes to grow and share food, give away books, swap toys and clothes, befriend the lonely. They’re even revitalising the old school of Make Do and Mend. (I’m old enough to remember when repairing and altering second hand clothes was the norm for pretty much everyone.)
At a recent course (free, for people wanting to make a positive contribution to their neighbourhood) I asked people to do this;
Share a story about a time you’ve connected with your community in a positive way
I was blown away by the amazing examples that I heard. Inspiring ventures achieved by ordinary folks – folks young and old, employed and out of work, folks from different cultures and backgrounds.
It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are. What matters is your will and the stance you choose. Choose to be a victim – a helpless being who is only ever “done to” – or choose to build a world that you are happy to live in.
Start like this;
If you find yourself grumbling, then ask ‘what do I wish things were like instead?’ followed by ‘and what can I do, personally, right now, to make that happen?’
If what rocks your boat is campaigning, rather than community work, then get political. Visit your MP/local councillor at one of their surgeries for a direct conversation. Or write or email if you prefer. Read up on publicly available documents on government websites that talk about proposed changes to welfare benefits, services and so forth. There are legal duties on government to consult about proposals in a meaningful way – so understand how and what you can influence. If you need more information; use the Freedom of Information Act. If all else fails; become a Councillor yourself.
We can all quote Ghandi’s “Be the change..” Takes a bit more effort to live it.