Optimism is a very fickle thing. It tends to come and go with each passing day. I feel blessed whenever I can catch it again, like I have been blessed with a gift from the gods from some unknown realm. I can seem the most optimistic on the most dreary of days and the least optimistic on the brightest, most sunny days. What determines my optimism? Well, I tend to think about certain things more or less and then I start to get more or less optimistic. Sometimes I’ll read an article about something pertaining to the human race and I’ll probably end up becoming less optimistic for that time period until I forget about it. I wouldn’t call myself a pessimistic person but I’m sure not a bundle of joy with blinders on either.
I know I’m not alone either. This economic downturn has taken quite a toll on American optimism. I don’t blame us either. Things don’t look too good for the foreseeable future and it seems like everywhere we turn there’s always some bad news. I guess it’s what happens when an unapologetic reality collides head on with optimism of the most upward trajectory. I remember back in 2008 when the recession first started, people thought we would not be in this recession for much longer. It’s the tail-end of 2011 and there doesn’t seem like there’s any sign of it letting up either.
The economic recession isn’t the only thing that’s got me thinking about darker days. It’s a whole collection of foolishness that the human race has managed to create during its time on this big blue planet we call Earth. Record stores are vanishing. Everything is being digitized. Prisons are being built everyday. The education system is letting the kids down. The environment is collapsing on itself. Human beings are being cast off to the wayside in favor of profit maximization. Suicide rates are increasing every year. I’ll stop at that considering that there’s enough dread already in this post but I’m pretty sure we all get the gist of it.
Optimism is what drives us towards a better tomorrow. How can we strive towards that if the reserves have been completely drained? Maybe its just another one of these “being human” things but I still can’t seem to shake the feeling that things seem to be on a downward trajectory. It’s funny how humanity entered the new millennium with unbridled optimism. Optimism that we would not see the destruction and death that our ancestors saw in the previous one and that we would lead healthy, happier, more productive lives. The following year of 2001 gave us the 9/11 attacks, the Patriot Act, and the War on Terror. Oh, how quick the weather can change.
I often have older people tell me how things just aren’t how they used to be and how much better they were. I just hope if I ever have young souls to nurture, I won’t ever have to tell them the same.
Watching snow fall on the ground is quite comforting. Yes, it’s snowing in October. Maybe its some kind of sign or just an indication of the region. If I were to move to warmer climes, I would miss having snow. Its my favorite part of colder weather. Its amazing how each of the snowflakes that drop are unique from each other. From our human eye it looks like nothing special but when put under x100 magnification, it can look quite divine. Even if it looks dreary outside, it is made up for the fact that its snowing, even if sledding or building snowmen isn’t a possibility. Still, even with snow, there is still the fact that there are massive swaths of homeless people who have nowhere warm to stay and it makes me quite sad. Maybe one day in the future, less homeless people will have to suffer from the cold.
If this weather is any indication of the winter ahead, then buckle up. Its going to be a rough one.
Before I even start this post, it might be a good idea for some people to know what a clique is. A clique according to the Merriam-Webster English Dictionary is a narrow exclusive group of persons; especially held together by common interests, views, or purposes. This definition makes cliques seem relatively benign but in most scenarios they are not. The institution of the clique tears any chance of universal solidarity asunder. I have encountered cliques in many of my life interactions. If I had to make a top 100 list of the things in this world that make me want to break something, cliques would be somewhere in the top 50.
People have said that cliques manage to eliminate themselves after high school. I have found that this one of the many lies that are told to people in order to make them feel better about the future. Cliques do not sort themselves out after high school. They are slightly less obvious in college and beyond but if you do digging, you will find them.
There are some people who consciously wish to be in cliques and others who do not wish to be in them but are pulled in them anyway. I belonged to the latter category. I hung out with a group of people who shared some common interests and it seemed things were off to a good start. Then, the year went on and I could feel the circle closing. No new people were being added to the group. I could feel the noose tightening. I had to cut it off. There is no way I will be part of a group that consciously excludes other human beings. I am now the status of “drifter”. I prefer it that way because i am then judged as an individual instead of who I hang out with.
I view cliques as the more civilized version of gangs. Stupidity, ignorance, myopia, and indifference fester in both. If you’re part of a group of people that consciously exclude others, do not do so and then you will not be classified as a clique. If you do so unconsciously, then well… it might already be too late for you.
I believe that the importance of the bed is under-emphasized within Western civilization. Lying in bed seems to give off an undertone of laziness or complacency, both of them antitheses to the Protestant Work Ethic which has been so deeply ingrained into our collective consciousness since birth. A bed isn’t just for sleeping, it should be a place where you collect your thoughts and stimulate your imagination. It should be a safe haven. I often use my bed as a way to not deal with the things that want to harm me on the outside. Sometimes, I might even slip into a blissful sleep and forget about the others, if for a little while.
A lot of times, I use my bed as a place to contemplate heavier things. I’ve had some of the best days in my bed and some of the worst days. Either way, I still find bed as a rewarding thing. Though, some times I don’t lie in bed unless I have the intention of sleeping. When I think of all the people who do not have beds, it makes me really sad because its just such a good thing to just experience. I know if I didn’t have a bed, I’d feel more lonely and displaced than I already do.
I just know if I ever feel like giving up for a few hours, I know where to go lie.
We are the sum of our parts. Everyone who came before us has contributed to who we are in unfathomable ways. Our ancestors’ decisions of who they decided to mate with combined with where they lived have set a groundwork and template for our very life. It is incredible to think of people you have never met and how they have made you the person you are today. Of course, ancestry does not tell the whole story of an individual but it tells a major part of it.
Your ancestors have created your physical appearance. It is no secret that your DNA draws upon the DNA your ancestors have contributed towards it. If all of your ancestors were Northern European, then you will exhibit those traits. If all of your ancestors came from Sub-Saharan Africa, you will also exhibit those traits. A person could have had a breakage in the similarity of traits with an ancestor of a different ethnic group. Diversity in traits tend to disappear the further away one gets from the ancestor who is unlike the rest. However, this is not always true. Due to the wild card nature of the human gene pool, a person can exhibit traits from a distant ancestor, causing the parents to ask “where did this come from?”. Someone’s perceived physical attractiveness is all dependent on this. If you feel as if you are not attractive enough or you dislike your physical appearance, blame your ancestors.
Beyond physical appearance, our ancestors have given us a set of genes that can make or break us. For example, a person with parents of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have a high propensity of developing Tay-Sachs’ disease and an even higher chance of developing Cystic Fibrosis. In essence, your ancestors’ desire to mate and have descendants of your own can make you live with the consequences of their choices and have a diminished life as a result. It is a harrowing thought to consider.
Culture is also affected by ancestry. You inherit the culture of your forefathers. If they decided to settle in Italy, you are Italian and will be raised in the Italian tradition. If those Italians decided to settle in America, you may develop a mixed Italian and American identity. This Italian identity may not be passed on to your descendants who will grow up to be unabashedly American. If your ancestors were brought onto slave ships during American colonization, you will most likely be one of the many Black Americans that got a slow start on “The American Dream” and your life will suffer as a result. If your ancestors were one of the people who brought them here, you will most likely be considered an “Old Money” family and will have invest-able prosperity. There is no escape.
We are judged on our physical appearance, disabilities, and how we relate to others (culture). People tend not to focus on what is within as that is intangible and too difficult to grasp. Some people win the genetic lottery, others are not so lucky. It’s amazing to think of all the freedom in the world that we think we have but our life has pretty much been decided by our ancestors. There’s only so much we can do.
The end of the week is looked at as a relief. It is a respite from the things that drive us to the cliffs of madness during the week. Thursday is seen as a complementary partner to the weekend. Friday is just a matter of looking at the clock and surreptitiously uttering the words: “I wanna get outta here”. For most of human history, the weekend never existed. Hunter-gatherer societies had no days off. Each day was crucial towards the survival of the tribe and/or village. Meat would quickly spoil, so hunting parties were sent out of kill animals daily and bring them back. Crops had to be maintained all year round in order to ensure a fresh supply of hearty fruits and vegetables. In the ancient Roman civilization, a majority of the lower class rarely got a day off with an exception of a major festival such as Saturnalia, which was a series of days. Even as recently as the late 17th century there was no such thing as a weekend in Puritan dominated New England. The modern weekend was only conceived as a response to massive labor strikes during the Industrial Revolution in the tail-end of the 19th century. The weekend is a relatively new invention, one that is justly needed.
I have never really had any incredible weekends. I have had weekend outings for sure but they haven’t been anything mind-blowing or spectacular. Most of my weekends tend to be as monotonous and irritating as my weekdays. I found I had more stable weekends in high school. College weekends were sure to entail some inherent foolishness that I was ill-prepared to deal with. Sunday brings with it an unmistakeable air of dread that permeates the very fabric of time and space itself. This dread is one of bad decisions from nights before, missed opportunities, and forgotten homework assignments. Luckily for me, I have finished my homework by Sunday and I always wake up clear-headed on Sunday mornings.
My monotonous routine provides stability and certainty, two elements that are welcome in my life. I miss out on a lot of experiences due to things I do and don’t do. Am I a better person for it? Maybe. I’ll never know. Nor do I want to. Still, even I get Sunday night blues sometimes. My goal is eventually to get to a place where I won’t have to “fear” Sundays anymore and maybe even have some “incredible weekends” in the process.