Hi. Just checking in with you all. It’s been a while.
I wonder if you’re having a rough time, too.
Have you, like me, had a tiny little festering ball of worry in the pit of your stomach since November 8, 2016?
That’s the date we elected this man president of the United States.
. . .
Wow. I didn’t expect that. As I was typing out that last sentence, I started tearing up. It’s been a long few months.
. . .
Anyway, maybe, like me, you’ve put your life on hold a little (or a lot). Maybe you look at your retirement accounts (such as they are) and for a few seconds wonder why you bother since the stock market’s going to crash any day now, probably a few days before the nuclear bombs fall.
No? Am I the only one who thinks like that?
I wonder about a dear friend’s daughter, on the cusp of adulthood, excited to go off to college to prepare for a career as an environmental lawyer. I love her enthusiasm and positivity, even as I worry that there will be no more national parks, no old-growth forests, no coral reefs to protect.
I wonder why I write. Why bother? Why make plans for more than a few months out when a megalomaniacal toddler has access to the nuclear codes?
I used to be able to get swept away by things I thought were cool and interesting. The history of science and medicine. Renaissance literature. Libraries.
Now, in Trump’s America, the only things that help me forget that our country is being run by a cadre of kleptocrats and Putin’s “useful idiots” are cat videos and chocolate.
Here you go, reader:
But at my core, like it or not, I’m an optimist.
(I know that history is littered with optimists who said everything was just fine right before the most horrific acts of violence and hate. So please know that I am trying to talk about the good while also keeping watch for the bad.)
We have our families, those beloved souls who, whether or not they are linked to us by genetics, are connected to us at some metaphorically cellular level, the people who hurt when we hurt, laugh when we laugh, cry when we cry. The people who embrace us despite our fears and our faults (and sometimes because of them).
We have our friends, our kindred spirits, the people who spark our inner joy, who embrace us in difficult times. Our tribe, our +1s, the people who open their doors and their hearts to us every day.
We have our communities. This is harder: a lot of times, our communities don’t think like us, feel like us, have the same values or opinions. But for whatever reason—geography, a shared faith, a shared interest—fate has brought us together.
And we still have, for now, the idea of America. A place of equality, of opportunity, of promise. A place where our shared humanity links us together.
I sure hope we can keep it.