In response to an impassioned cry of “It shouldn’t be this way!”, Terry Pratchett’s Granny Weatherwax once said “There’s no should. There’s what is, and what we do.”
I have a huge list of things that “shouldn’t be this way”. There shouldn’t be manmade climate change. There shouldn’t be homelessness or poverty. There shouldn’t be pollution. There shouldn’t be slavery, and there especially shouldn’t be child slavery. There shouldn’t be needless death (particularly from things we could do something about, like diseases of poverty, or road deaths). I could go on and on and on, but it would be too depressing.
So that’s what is. What do we do? Speaking purely for myself, I am making a new list.
1. I want to work (professionally) at something that makes the world a better place in some tangible way. Otherwise work is just a waste of time and resources. This involves (for me) a career shift which is proving challenging in the current economic climate. It’s the old “you can’t get experience until you have experience” conundrum. But I know my educational and communications skills will serve me in good stead for some kind of communicating role somewhere, and meanwhile I put my energies into volunteering for Oxfam, working on their training packages. With any luck this will be the experience you get when you’re not being paid to get experience. So to speak.
2. I want to reduce my carbon footprint. I was hoping to get a cargo-bike, but I wasn’t happy with the way it handled, it seemed very unwieldy. So I will have to find another way to make the school-run without a car. And the shopping runs, too. Human power is so much healthier for me, and for the planet. Another work in progress.
3. I want to increase my hug footprint. By which I mean I want to contribute to the hug-ification of the planet. There are too few hugs, and too much stress in the world. Personally, I need more positive, emotionally fulfilling contact, and less angst. The best way to achieve that seems to be to make a conscious effort to connect with as many of the people I cross paths with as possible. From a cheerful comment to the bus driver, to inviting unexpected people to my home. It also means reaching out in no uncertain terms to those people I feel a real connection with.
4. I will (I swear!) spend less time trying to avoid being sneered at, and more time seeking out people who don’t sneer, either in front of me or behind my back. I will worry less about what people are thinking of me, and worry more about how to connect with them. Sneerers begone! I would sneer at the sneerers, but that might defeat the purpose just a tad. That’s the thing about sneering – it is infectious. I promise to stomp heavily on any urge I might feel to sneer.
5. This one is going to be hard, but I will try very hard to reduce my shout footprint. (goodness, this footprint metaphor goes a long way, doesn’t it?) The way I see it, shouting begets more shouting (just like sneering – worse than viruses, these things). I shout too much, generally at my kids. I need to learn to put myself in their shoes and try to understand where they are coming from, before I morph into a shoutysaurus. So often when I know why they have done stuff, there is no reason for shouting, just room for a little redirection or adjustment. So no more shoutysaurus. Well. Less shoutysaurus – let’s be realistic!
6. Email/sms/facebook less. Call and face-to-face more. I recently had a birthday, and I felt so good about the calls and face to face contact, but the electronic contact felt really flat. Let there be more voices, faces and hugs in the world. ‘Nuff said.
That’s my list. All work in progress, every one of them. What’s yours?
(grateful thanks to Suzukisinger for inspiring this blog)