A Brave New World
A famous author and YouTuber that I greatly admire said, “We are living in the middle of history”.
I don't know if he was quoting someone or if he coined the phrase himself, but never has that statement felt more true than it has over the last few months. And than it does now.
This is not going to be a post about how elated or devastated I am with the state of the country/the world. I've had plenty of time to do that publicly and anything thing else I need to say in that vein I can express privately. This is not the space for that.
But recent events have caused me to reflect on my actions and my beliefs, and those of others. I have learned some hard lessons over the past weeks, especially about myself, and it's made me question whether I'm alone in this.
I've learned the true meaning of those time honoured mantras passed down through generations of adults to their children:
“You don't always get what you want”
“Life isn't fair”
“‘I want’ doesn't always get”
Of course I knew this already. I wanted to get a first class degree and I got a 2.1. I've been reprimanded for doing things others have got away with (school uniform codes are made to be broken, after all). I've asked nicely for things and had to accept “no” countless times.
But those now trivial things didn't prepare me for this:
Where what I want is something I believe is the right thing for my country and I don't get it.
Where I see my fellow human beings, men and women just like me, being attacked and killed and I cannot stop it or change it even though it is unfair and unjust.
It's easy to accept defeat and unfairness when you feel your voice is equal to your adversary. I ask my friend to borrow a pen. They say no. I'm a bit bummed out but I know I've been heard, and if I protest by not speaking to my friend for a week I know my protest will be noticed (incidentally, I take stationary very seriously. Potential friends take note!).
But when you're a voice in a crowd of millions or billions, you know that your individual voice will be silent without the majority. And even then a faceless crowd can be a lonely place. You go to the vigils and the marches and the protests. You sign the petitions and share the articles and read the statistics. And with each signature and share you hear your voice echoing in the empty void and wonder if anyone out there who has the power to change things is actually listening, or even gives a damn.
Nothing prepares you for that.
Maybe it's a right of passage all 20-somethings have to go through. But I've gotta say, it’s been a rude awakening.
I'm gonna need a lot of coffee.