I have a disruption at my core, a gnawing sense that a shift is coming soon. I see a daily news feed full of civilian protest and police retaliation, while genuinely feeling the loss of a man I never met. I know now that my innocence was always fleeting, when a world of cartoon bats and grown-up Peter Pans is replaced by an inability to ignore rampant sexism, violence against black youth and the horrific invasion of fast food and obesity.
Some days I look over the ocean with an ignorant romanticism that says the Mother Land is better. Galway, Amsterdam and Malta whisper, then sing a siren’s song of ancient unity and forward-thinking innovation. They promise eternal life with unquestioned access to health care, better food and breathable air. I return to the task at hand, and remind myself that the antique couch and 10 year-old cat would never make the trip. My defiance against a time-sucking social network and all the drivel upon it is overshadowed by the desire to know what my friends are doing, and I wonder if I could ever really leave them for good.
My generation saw many careers nipped in the bud; parental retirements and travel plans obliterated in the face of a market that doesn’t cut it and doesn’t care. All the while the subsidized meat, sugar and cheese take their toll on the fading youthful vigor. Then we’re told to love these unhealthy bodies by a gimmicky “rebel” media that cares even less about the poor, sick and aged.
Salads and chocolate… a constant balancing game. I have to do something worthwhile with all of this “being alive” business.
We who feel plagued by information and platforms might also feel responsible. Responsible because, what would we have done in the shoes of another? I could have been that greedy Wall Street banker, that scared cop with a sweaty finger too hot on the trigger, that 1970s mom feeding her kids bologna every day… if only I’d been born other than myself. Responsible to speak out because I am not the banker, the cop or the 1970s mom, and really, truly do care. But no one wants to hear it, no one wants to feel like they’re being judged or their politics challenged. Can I blame them? Would I want that from the vantage point of their shoes?
There are days when I’m convinced we’re on the cusp of revolution, and days when I relax into the way things have “always been and always will be.” Then I remember that it really doesn’t matter either way, as my existence – and ours as a species – is a blip on the cosmic calendar. I’ve found a certain comfort in the fact that I’m a living collection of star stuff, and that my atoms will someday contribute to yet unfathomable lifeforms and structures.
The shift is already happening, and I know I’ve caused some disruption. I could go on and on about what disrupts me, and the shift for which I so constantly long. But you have your own business of being alive… look for shoes further walked than mine.