Cultivating hope

When I get up to pee in the middle of the night, I use my phone to light the way so I don’t stub my toe, yell “fuck,” and wake James and the dog up.

I used to check my email or Twitter while sitting there. Just for something to do. Addicted to the algorithm? Sure.

No good news arrives overnight, so hopping online in the wee(wee) hours is playing with fire if you want to get back to sleep and not dream about the end of the world.

Time for self-intervention

Like many moments in life when you suddenly realize, hey, I’m doing this to myself, I decided to just…stop. Stop feeding the always-hungry algorithm with my attention. Stop doom-scrolling. Stop raising my fight or flight instinct at 3AM.

Now, the alerts about mass shootings, attempted coups, and trampled rights have to wait for my morning cup of coffee. I guess I find the apocalypse easier to manage during daylight hours, though I’m working on reducing my social media consumption overall. Starting to blog again is part of the effort to redirect my energy.

Hope is a form of action

There are a lot of theories that the pandemic exposed just how close to the edge the U.S. is. How little we care about each other. How financially unstable most of us are. How, when the shit hits the fan, we cling to conspiracy theories for a sense of order instead of doing the hard work to make order out of chaos.

But there’s still so much good that remains, and it’s our responsibility to recognize, nurture, and cultivate it. People who have hope are much harder to control than those who’ve given in and given up.

I’m not talking about Live | Laugh | Love faux hope. I’m not talking about turning a blind eye to atrocities and plugging your ears with your fingers while singing the Meow Mix jingle and hoping someone else deals with it.

I’m talking about believing we can make the world better and acting on it. Give money to the good guys doing good things. Volunteer time to make life a little better for those who have it much worse. Empower the people you know to freely express who they are and love whom they want. Call out the -isms (racism, sexism, Nazism) you witness and let their undeserving targets know you have their back.

And don’t feed the trolls

Remember that hate is a real keyboard motivator among the human garbage we’re sharing this big rock with. They’re crawling out from under their swastikas, confederate flags, and 4chan memes to show their ugly souls and trying to perpetuate the falsehood that they are inevitable. They aren’t. There are way more of us than them–they’re just a hell of a lot louder.

With the intentional implosion of Twitter and major layoffs at Meta, we may be at a crossroads. Social media has been one of the best and worst inventions in our lifetime, and though it’s controlled by robotic billionaires, it’s still powered by each of us.

What are we going to do with this opportunity to change our unhealthy relationship with social media? Keep doom-scrolling and thinking the world is fucked, or actively work to un-fuck it?

(For the appropriate amount of irony, I’ll share a link to this on Twitter and Post.)

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