Our adaptability could be one of our greatest and most admirable traits as humans. Our ability to not only survive but thrive in adverse environmental, social and cultural situations, to find or create beauty in the bleakest circumstances, to connect and grow and learn and build better alternatives is a thing of wonder.
I think a big part of this is our ability to acknowledge and accept the reality of what’s around us, even – especially – when it is less than perfect. After all that’s our starting point, our baseline, our foundation for any change we may wish to make. We have to celebrate the parts that are working, and concede the parts that are not. And it’s a constant, unrelenting, evolving process in this day and age – nothing stands still for long any more.
In the face of all this, acceptance can very quickly turn to apathy, especially when just making it day to day means working within the confines of the status quo, with little or no energy left for revolutionary idealism. We stop looking around, questioning, challenging because all of our focus is on trying to keep up – the idea of getting ahead becomes unimaginable. Hope becomes a privilege, a luxury we can ill afford.
This past week I had an overwhelming combination of real life, literary and media experiences that confronted me with the stark potential consequences when we let ourselves sink from acceptance into apathy, when instead of embracing and working with our circumstances we distance ourselves from them, become remote, detached. When everything becomes someone else’s problem, something we couldn’t possibly fix for ourselves, until the point we stop even seeing the problem.
This isn’t a call to arms, a foofy treatise on seeing good and hope every day or a trite homily about making little changes to enact bigger ones (albeit none of these are things I’m against). It’s a call to eyes, a call to ears, a call to thought. A plea against switching off, against distancing yourself, against becoming inured to the reality of the whole wide world around you in the scrabble just to survive it. Seek instead to thrive, in whatever way you can.