“May you live in interesting times.” – an ancient Chinese curse
This year we’ve born witness to the first artificial organ transplant, seen proof of water on Mars, launched our first solar powered spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter, and watched our population finally hit 7 billion.
We’ve experienced the Arab Spring, the Libyan civil war, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, and the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
To say that 2011 has been an “interesting” year would be putting it lightly, and we seem to be having a hard time dealing with it. Some people are so utterly befuddled by the state of things, that they don’t know how to react. Some want societal and governmental reform, others desperately cling to a fading sense of normalcy, and we can’t seem to stop blaming each other for everything.
Why is society in the shape it’s in? Because the gays want to get married, obviously! No, that’s not it; it’s because of the banks and corporations! Wait, that’s not it either. You know what? It’s those greedy republicans! Oh, no, it’s the democrats and the liberal media! Actually, it’s the fault of the entitled, lazy, young generation! Hey, no! It’s the self-aggrandizing, double standard having, old generation who are at fault!
We go on, and on, and on like that, until everyone is desperate for a little sanity. Does anything get done? Is anything accomplished? No, at the end of the day we just hate each other a little more.
We argue over who has it worse. We criticize and condemn each other over the decisions we make in our lives. People fail to comprehend the myriad complexities and hardships an individual faces on a daily basis; they assume that the woes of the world could be solved if everyone just acted a little bit more like them.
Nobody has the answers to all of life’s twists and turns; fallibility is practically the hallmark of our race. We can’t “fix” what’s going on right now; we’re on a crash course toward something, for good or ill. We will probably remain strangers in this strange land until we breathe our last. We can’t change the world, we can only change ourselves.
Our greatest resource is our own intellect. To survive in this world, one must know their history, and learn from it. Citizens of the 21st century need to make their own decisions based on the lessons of the past, and disdain those who spread lies for their own benefit. Remember that the truth is often hard, and difficult to listen to, but those who offer easy solutions to difficult problems are untrustworthy.
Life is hard, and it doesn’t get any easier as time goes on. You’re in college now and suddenly you don’t have as much free time. You’ve got homework, tests, papers, a part time job, extracurricular activities, and you have to at least try to work in a few minutes of sleep every once in a while. Guess what? It gets harder. Try juggling a full time job, endless bills, a spouse, a child, aging parents, a homeowner’s association, your church, and friends. Sleep? A lot of people have the attitude, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
And throughout all this hardship, while all of this is weighing you down, you hear about how the world tearing itself apart. At this point you have two choices: Surrender, let the weight of the world crush you and dive into the bottle, or fatty foods, or video games; anything to take your mind off the pain.
But here’s option two: Don’t give in. Think back to a point in your life, to a time when things got tough. You might have had someone there backing you up, and encouraging you. But it’s more likely you had someone telling you, “You’ll never do it! Just give up! You’re a loser!”
In times of adversity, humans are capable of great things. When someone told you that you weren’t good enough, or not strong enough, or not smart enough, did you give up? Did you meekly crawl back into your stinking pit of mediocrity? Or did you look them square in the eyes and say:
“I’m going to make you eat those words.”
By: Joseph Frymore