I’ve hit the wall, and I’m done. I know we’ve all been through a lot in the past year and a half, and that most of our nerves are truly shot. I know it’s human nature to want to divide the world into “them and us,” and that isn’t going to change. I know the easiest way to feel better about ourselves is to look down on someone else, and how tempting it is to do that. Most of all, I know I’ve been guilty of all of this myself, far too often. But it seems to me that the ugliness has reached new heights these days, and I have gotten to the point where I just can’t take it anymore.
I don’t want to live my life in fear and anger, or even in a state of “justified” outrage. I don’t want to believe that people who are different from me are necessarily bad people. I don’t want to spend precious time ridiculing those whose behavior and choices I don’t understand, and I most definitely don’t want to indulge in pointless online arguments with those who dare to express an opinion I don’t happen to agree with.
Life can be tough, and it’s normal to want to find someone, or a group of people, to single out as the cause of all our problems. But a quick look at history shows us that bad things happen, to all of us, when we begin to believe that our aggression towards someone else is justified and deserved. (Because isn’t that what every single abuser says about his or her victim? That they “deserved” it?) So I have made the conscious choice to back away from that kind of thinking, and instead to look very hard for the common ground that binds all of us together. Because I truly believe that it’s so much more productive to look for what unites us than to concentrate quite so much on what divides us.
I realize that my choices go against the grain in a world where we are constantly being pitted against each other, and where we seem to dream up new divisions each day. We’ve always been conditioned to divide ourselves along political, national, and religious lines, and sadly, most of us do just that. But now we’re also dividing along the lines of vaccinated verses unvaccinated, rural verses urban, vegans verses omnivores, and even battling over our choices about education, gender definitions and about everything else you can possibly imagine. If we keep going at this rate, I’ll only be allowed to like people who are exactly like me. Which would mean I’ll only like…. me.
So the time has come for me to say “enough is enough” and I don’t want to do this anymore. We all get to make choices in how we spend the precious time we have on this earth, and I’ve made mine. I want to be done with the fighting, the squabbling, the superior outrage and all the rest of it, and I’m going to do my very best to turn my back on it, both literally and figuratively. Sometimes, if only for the sake of our sanity, we need to choose to simply “opt out.”