Social Survival

First off, I have to apologize for these weeks of silence. I’ll spare you the litany of excuses, since it serves no purpose and basically wastes time.

I know this Covid has affected some people more than others. Out here in the hinterlands of the United States, it looms as more of a vague spectre, and the sense it gives is one of waiting for someone else to pull the trigger while playing Russian roulette, and in the midst of it, people go on being people. Sometimes they are fascinating. Other times they’re annoying, and one thing I personally find most frustrating is ambiguity.

Now, I get the world is changing, that is an inevitable fact of life, and adaptation is one trait I pride myself on. However, even change follows a pattern and the key to surviving in a changing world is finding the loophole, the lifeline, to work with and move forward.

In college, I hung out with a guy who fancied himself a philosopher. He would pick a point to debate on, something as simple as the premise that morality and religion are essentially the same thing. As soon as I successfully proved my point, he would switch his stance and say that morality and religion were contradictory and claim victory because I didn’t understand his reasoning even though he had not explained his thinking. He placed me in a constant state of being wrong from his perspective, and when he could not win by established means, he rewrote the rules. I’ve come across people with similar mentalities over the years. They talk in circles, constantly moving the point of debate so that no one else in the conversation can ever hit the mark. It’s like trying to shoot a target that quantum leaps at irregular intervals. In the end, I stopped getting into such conversations and eventually stopped hanging out with him, not because he held differing beliefs from me, but because he refused to allow us to find common ground on which to build a foundation of mutual understanding. Common ground did lay between us. He refused to step into it. That is how I feel much of the time I interact with people in general and the greater national community as a whole, and after fifteen years, my strategy hasn’t changed. I refuse to engage with people who dead-weight their way through life.

My philosophy consists of moving forward. When facing a problem, the worst thing, in my mind, is wallowing in the past or present. Yes, there have been times in my life when my past has hung on to my thoughts, but I have still acted to change things, including moving to another state. Many times, I have listened to people complain about their jobs, their spouses/partners, and their lives in general, but when I suggest they do something about it, their first reaction is, “Well, I wish I could do that,” with the implication being that they won’t give the idea a second thought. It’s usually one of two things; refusal to find a way out of their rut, or they seek attention and have no intention of fixing the problems in their lives. Not all my choices turned out well, but at least I tried to improve things. 

No one who sat back and simply waited for rescue got it. In his book, Deep Survival, Lawrence Gonzalez wrote about how those stranded in adverse situations have to find a way to live in their circumstances or succumb. Those who survive best learn to rely on themselves, their own minds above all else. While they may still need redemption from their situation, they cease to count on it and thereby make the best of what they have and survive. 

It’s the antithesis of the damsel in distress attitude. A princess stranded in a tower has to have a hero save her. Saving herself is not an option. (Personally, this is why I consider being called “princess”, and the associated color pink, insulting.) Reality is more like the western theme where the nearest law is unreachable and the cavalry always shows up late. Rescue never comes in a timely manner, and even then, a main character must still take part in the final showdown.

Only you can change what is wrong in your life. Change your situation or change your mentality, but it takes personal initiative one way or the other. Don’t wait for someone else to change your circumstances for you, because it won’t happen. Everyone has the power to take care of themselves. They just have to find their own way of doing it.

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