I find myself wanting to avoid in person contact most of the time. Yet I still have a strong desire to socialize. I don’t socialize in person much partly because I know only two people in my entire apartment complex who share any of my interests. Sure my neighbor is cool and we help each other out a good deal, but we don’t have much in common interests. It is lonely not having anyone nearby to talk about things like history, philosophy, psychology, literature, tech, science, economics, etc. Social media used to be good for that before it became a toxic cesspool. Social media was fun until about ten years ago. It got real ugly in 2015 and 2016, a time when I was already having lots of personal problems. From October 2014 to October 2015, my three best friends in this complex died, my grandmother died, I had my car accident, and had falling outs with several friends and family members. In short I got tired of hearing negative crap about politics all the time. And I even agreed with some of these people, but they were still toxic about their beliefs. I confronted a few about their toxic behavior. Every one of them told me I could go away if I didn’t like it. I did go away. I have stayed away. I won’t even go to family functions and class reunions anymore. One of my college friends I haven’t talked to in almost seven years. It’s so sad and frustrating I don’t even want to talk about it. It’s sad that many people care more about politics than family, work, religion, and even life itself. I want no part of that.
Haven’t left my apartment since last weekend. Been sleeping more too. 2020 has been an insane year, to say the least. Pandemics. Protests. Quarantines. Broken supply chains. Private space flight takes astronauts to the space station. Yes, 2020 will be a year for the history books.
While all these things are overwhelming for me, I try to stay grounded and positive. I try to tell people around what’s actually going right. I tell people that I am hopeful that all of our current troubles are hopefully the birth pains of a more humane and balanced way of living and interacting with the world. We were foolish to base so much of our manufacturing overseas, especially essential medicines and protective gear. Militarizing the police was not a good idea. The uncomfortable conversations about bigotry have been put off for far too long. Our governments spending too much money and passing the debts off to future generations have gone on for too long. The gaps between the wealthy and the poor have gotten unmanageable. The middle class, a key ingredient in any stable and free society, has been under siege financially for too long. Many people in their twenties and thirties don’t see how they can ever afford a house or children when they already have a small fortune in student loans. They were told, like I was, a college degree was necessary to get any jobs beyond frying chicken or pumping gas. Then they get out of college and the good paying jobs their parents and grandparents had aren’t there. And now automation is probably going to take over a significant portion of jobs in most industries. Any wonder most people are scared and angry?
Most of this has been building for at least a couple decades now. Workers in my parents’ generation knew that social security wasn’t going to be enough to cover their retirements. Yet, too many of them didn’t save and invest enough to make up the difference. Now they can’t afford to retire and creating a log jam of millions of younger people overqualified for the entry level jobs they have available. We knew that too many police officers weren’t being held accountable for using excessive and deadly force, primarily in black and brown neighborhoods, yet we wouldn’t hold them or corrupted local politicians and judges accountable. Doctors and scientists have been warning us for decades a major pandemic was extremely likely in our lifetimes. We knew, but we refused to prepare. We knew about the potential dangers of climate change since at least the 1960s. Sure, rivers are less polluted in many countries, electric cars are becoming reliable, solar and wind power becoming cheaper than coal in many countries, power storage is becoming more feasible, and nuclear fusion is in development. But we are starting to see the effects of what scientists have been warning for decades. We knew a major stock market crash was due once my parents’ generation started retiring and selling off their retirement funds. We didn’t do enough to prepare, either as nations or individuals. Wages for most workers haven’t budged in terms of inflation since at least the early 80s, even though workers have gotten more productive and are demanded more from employers. We treated customer service workers like garbage for decades. I saw it everyday I worked. I even received enough abuse from customers, bosses, and coworkers alike I will never work in customer service again. I don’t care if my disability does get cut off, I’d rather starve to death than be treated worse than an animal.
2020 is indeed a very stressful year for most people. It was made worse because problems we’ve known about for decades were either never addressed or addressed inadequately. Hopefully 2020 will be a year when we start to make right the wrongs and bad decisions of previous decades and eras. I don’t know what it’s like to be black or any other racial minority. And I never will. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman either. And I never will. I don’t understand their problems. But I do want be empathic and be part of making right the wrongs of the past and present.
With it being a Friday, I am reminded of posts by friends of how much they love weekends and how much they hate their jobs. Maybe I got lucky by having a severe mental illness and being on disability. Perhaps I did, especially with how much I read about how people hate their jobs and their spouses. I also probably got lucky in that becoming disabled made me not marriage material. Yet, as it were, losing everything civilization told me to value made me fearless and optimistic. Once you lose everything, you are free to do anything it seems.