Sunday, June 2, 2013

Making the world a better place

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. We have this national narrative right now that everything's going to crap and no one is listening, and I think it's becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy. It combines with the general victim-ness that seems to be spreading, too, and the bad-economy depression, and whatever else, and people stop trying to do anything about it.

But here's the thing: there's always something you can do about it, even if that thing is only trying to make your own life better, and even if 'better' is a relative term.

Now, formerly, I'd thought about 'better' as a vague thing, and a stratified thing. I wanted to make my own life better, sure. I wanted to make the world better. But I wasn't thinking of them as the same thing until I was looking at the blogs I follow in my reader and I realized--it's all the same. Trying to eat better--both healthier and tastier. Trying to think about beautifying my house in ways I can accomplish and afford. Trying to garden and make my outside healthier. Trying to be nicer to myself and more positive with the world. Thinking about society and working through those issues and spreading the better ideas around. Being mindful and journaling more. Being creative and helping others be creative. Trying to be happier. Trying to help others be happier. Trying to be greener. Trying to get out of the oppression of a consumerist, retail-based culture of poorness and want that I don't agree with.

Focusing on art and literature and creativity and beauty and health and thoughtfulness.

All of it is the same thing.

I read a lot of blogs that have a positive view of the world. Everything from Danielle Laporte and Leonie Dawson and Emilie Wapnick and Gretchen Rubin, to the Nerdfighters Hank and John Green, to Wil Wheaton, to Discovery News. Not to mention all the cooking and home-decor and crafting blogs I follow that talk about a way of life that I really want to build for myself. Not to mention the general magical-thinking of being a total geek. I've been doing this for a long time, and lately I've been synthesizing it and seeing what tips for life I can get out of all of it, everything I'm taking in, and what I can pass on about it. And this is my first insight:

Make the world a better place.

Any way you can and every way you can, from the most personal detail to the most cosmic action. It should all be in the name of making things better than you found them. In the name of improving your life and everyone else's life in some way. In fighting against this wave of stupidness and meanness and depression and selfishness that seems to be overwhelming all the good that still exists and still needs help getting noticed. Because really--do you want to live in a world that thinks of itself as a near-dystopia on a downward slide, or do you want to live in a world where kitchens are full of sunshine and tasty baking, where anyone can write or create art, where gardens are the norm, and where everything can be beautiful, whether it's functional or not? Do you want to live in a world where you're stuck in a job you hate because you have no choice, or one where you can decide to do whatever you want, even if it's hard and risky, and happiness is the main outcome? Do you want to reinforce a world of isolation and mistrust, or one where people smile at each other and share things and make friends?

I know which one I want.

And I know where I'm putting my effort now. What about you?
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