The Sky's Falling? I say, Bring it! (1)
Victims rarely win, succeed or overcome. They suffer & wait to be rescued. Anyone wonder why those seeking power DRILL victimhood into us nonstop? (Psst! We can choose to be strong.)
Saturday, April 30th, 2022
Dear Freedom Friends,
This October, I will turn fifty. Yup, the big Five-Oh! Feeling my “middle age” over the past decade has been comprised of two things: (1) my long-held expectation that I would “break the meta” and never need to wear glasses was shattered, and (2) I’ve begun to witness first hand the generational effect. What I mean by this is that I can see things today, in light of how they were different 30-40 years ago, with the relative clarity of an adult point of view.
I grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s. As a direct result of the Civil Rights Movement, the topic of racism was on the table and utterly unavoidable. Legalized enslavement within American history, the Civil War (as remembered and written by the winners in the North), the resulting Jim Crow Laws that evolved to maintain a strict 2-class system, and all of the abuses and suffering (victimizing) of American Citizens with African Heritage by those with European Heritage were ubiquitous to my childhood milieu.
However, I did not pity Black Americans. During those decades, the acknowledgment of suffering and harms caused by racism was balanced out by endless images of Black Power on my television screen, in my school text books, in magazines and at the movies! Even The Color Purple, which I read long before I saw the movie, sent a clear message that “despite the hardships of one’s beginnings,” it is possible to overcome such challenges. To rise above. To Triumph.
Who could look at these men and women and dare to see weakness?
Take a moment to enjoy the Hidden Figures trailer. If you haven’t watched this movie, put it at the top of your “to watch” list and make sure the invite your kids to join you! Do you see victims? Or do you see amazing, strong, brave and hard-working women who succeed in spite of tremendous odds?
Flash forward, and here’s the fundamental point I’d like us all to carry forward into each day. Whatever the challenge, I will face it. More than that, I will use it to make my life better. When I get knocked down, I’ll get up stronger! When inflation hits, I’ll swing back with the power of thrift! Food shortages? Hello, new gardening skills, foraging know-how and stronger friendships! Family vacation cancelled? Who knew a “stay-cation” could be so much fun?
Being a victim sucks, but even worse is choosing victimhood when we have another choice. Life is better when we believe in ourselves enough to get back up and keep on trying. Fact: failing feels 100 times better than giving up. Plus, you might not fail!
This year it hit me. We’re 22 years past the 20th Century. As an American born in 1972, the 20th Century was alive and well. I spent my high school years imagining how I’d party when it was 1999! And I spent 1999 worrying about Y2K (yes, I bought a huge barrel of water and a wind up radio). The ups and downs of the 20th Century were my absolute reality, the center of my historical thinking, and the point from which my view existed. And, the narrative (during the final quarter of our most recent century) was also clear. We had achieved greatness!
Gone to the moon? Check!
Fought our last world war? Check!
Defeated tyranny, the USSR and rule by the elites? Check!
International recognition of human rights? Check!
The USA was protecting Democracy across the globe? Check!
Racism, sexism, classism and assorted bigotries were a distant memory? Check!
With all that self-congratulating going on, when people say that this century will be worse than the last one, you might be surprised to hear me say, “I don’t think so.” But, I don’t. In fact, the more I think about it, the last century was about the same as the one before it and the one before it and the one before it and, well…you get the idea. Humans just sort of cause a ruckus, no matter what. It seems to be in our genes. With the power of fossil fuels, we could have created a relaxing, healthy and happy Eden for all humans on Earth about fifty years ago, and we didn’t. With the internet, oh wow…don’t even get me started on how we could be doing so much more than the dark web, drug deals, pornography, Tinder, endlessly screeching at people on social media and the inevitable domination of this communication equalizer by for-profit corporations that specialize in social control (legacy media). The examples of missed opportunities and foolishness go on and on and on.
All of which is to say:
“It’s time to let go of the illusion, the lie, the make-believe, the fake history, the narrative that life used to be safe, consistent, predictable, and that the chaos of our current moment is an outlier situation.” No, my dear friends. The unpredictability of our world today. The shit-fest. The war-torn cities, frightened people and political tumult of the moment.
IS. ALL. NORMAL.
SO. GET. OVER. IT.
MOVE. ON. AND. LIVE.
That’s what my new weekly series (published on Thursdays) will focus on.
Curiosity vs despair.
Dealing v.s. whining.
Strength vs victimhood.
Responding vs complaining.
Planning vs waiting for the ax to fall.
Embracing change vs resisting the inevitable.
Not all, but many of my BRING IT! essays will deal with our habits of consumption. In particular, I plan to talk about food. A lot. Along with water, shelter and air…food is necessary for life. Which means, it matters on a whole lot of levels. Emotional. Social. Cultural. Physical. Recreational. Ceremonial. Habitual. Instinctual. You get the idea! In other words, if we’re facing a tough century with shortages in food, we best prepare to manage and blunt the severity of that situation as much as possible, and frankly…there’s no better time to get started than the present!
I’ll leave you with a question (it’s going to hurt, but it’s very much worth it) and a small but empowering story from my own kitchen.
Here’s the question: “If you average the frequency and cost of coffee drinks (or maybe you’re a beer drinker?) that you’ve consumed over the past 20 years, how much money have you spent?” I will give you my answer next week. (Yes, I’m cringing already.)
Here’s a story to leave you with:
After a day in the city, helping my son move and not having packed food for the trip, I was aghast at the money I spent on a coffee, boba tea, pizza and salad. I sent a late night text to both my sons, saying, “That’s it! I’m not eating out anymore!” They both agreed prices are insane, and so far, I’ve stuck to it, but that doesn’t mean I’ve had to give up on fun, healthy and reasonably priced drinks.
From left to right, what this photo means to me:
(1) Torani Syrup is made with cane sugar (not HFCS) and makes a frothy coffee drink taste like you’re in a café for pennies on the dollar!
(2) Waste not, want not! I actually prefer iced coffee, so I turn the last bit of the family’s morning coffee into ice cubes pretty much every day.
(3) Costco is amazing. I went with a friend who has a membership and some of the prices blew my mind. Plus, we were able to split a few things. Hit up Costco!
(4) Yummy Organic Grape Juice! At home prep can mean better ingredients for the same (or less) money. This brand is $8.99 a bottle - yikes! But, thankfully, just a 1/4 cup mixed with ice and cheap bubbly water makes a delicious treat on a hot day.
(5) Learn how to make your own Boba. If I made one Boba Tea Drink a day, that bag would last 4 months. For $19.78. And, it’s the healthiest brand I can find!
(6) Foraging for Nettles may be as easy as avoiding getting stung on your next nature walk! Excellent for reducing seasonal allergies and with a yummy flavor similar to roasted green teas; I highly recommend it!
(7) The best weeds to have! Most of us are already surrounded by herbs that make great tea. If not, they can be super easy to grow (especially mint). Why pay $7.50 for a box of organic mint tea shipped 1,000 miles, when you can snip the leaves off your own plant and walk 15 feet to the tea pot? Fresh is best!
(8) Lipton Black Tea actually tastes amazing, and the price is right. Sometimes, I like to add sugar and squeeze 1/2 a lemon into a tall glass with ice.
With a little creativity and a good attitude, we can all come up with creative solutions to the inevitable challenges of life, amongst humans, on planet Earth.