Happy New Year. I am weary.
I am weary of the steady parade of problems to be solved; too often the solution is beyond me.
I am weary of the constant barrage of outrage, calamity, and impending doom: the incoming administration, global climate change, incendiary international politics, pollution, poverty, and social injustice. I have no power to change any of it. Yet I am scolded for not “doing something about it”, for not “fighting back”, for “giving up”. I am supposed to at least “care”. But I am too tired to care anymore.
I am weary of causes and calls to increase awareness of everything from breast cancer (as if I am not painfully aware of it already) to all the variations on the mental norm: autism, depression, PTSD, etc., etc. I am exhausted from trying to be sensitive to a dizzying array of “triggers” and possible sources of offense. And I am beginning to resent the guilt trip that is laid on me for not being sympathetic enough. When I read about the shocking abuse children have suffered—starved, beaten, sexually assaulted—it is difficult to feel a lot of pity for adults who cry abuse because their childhood and their parents were less than perfect. When I read about the persecution—shunning, death threats, beatings, shaming, and horrific “cures”—of people who are not mainstream male or female, it is difficult to take seriously righteous crusades over pronouns.
I am sick of people who act as if everyone around them should treat them like pitiful victims, brave survivors, fuss over them, lavish special treatment upon them, when really the only thing that has befallen them is Life. We all struggle with some inner pain or another, unique to us; we’ve all been back-stabbed and gut-punched. We all have to do things we hate, deal with people and situations that make us miserable, cope with unbearable losses and the death of treasured dreams. We turn to friends and family for sympathy and support and then we pull ourselves together and push on. It is not up to you to declare yourself worthy of pity or preference, a tragic martyr or a noble hero. That is for others to judge.
I am weary of people who think their opinions are a valid argument against facts. I am tired of echo chambers and circle jerks and people who reduce complex issues to memes and soundbites. I am tired of those who pass single-issue judgements on others, who hold grudges, who think anger is a productive strategy, or that rage-quitting is a reasonable response. I am worn out dealing with those who crave drama and search for excuses to cause it, who use criticism and contempt as a way to feel better about themselves, and who loudly level unfounded accusations, seize upon gossip, persecute with innuendo, and always suspect the worst of people. I am frustrated by those whose response to a disagreement is to unfriend, block, ban, slam the door, shut down communication with anyone who doesn’t see things as they do.
I am saddened by all the misfortunes that have occurred to those around me, by the suffering, terrible luck, losses and heartache. All the misery I feel helpless to do anything about. I am battered by my own struggles, wounds, and failures. I am disappointed in my shortcomings, that I am not strong enough, clever enough, determined enough, to overcome this adversity. That my compassion has become so fatigued, my optimism exhausted. That I am so tired.
I have no confidence that 2017 is going to be better than 2016; reality does not recognize our calendar. I do what most of us do, get through each day, take care of those I love and who depend on me, and try to be cheerful about it so I don’t bring down everyone around me. 2017 might not be better, but it will certainly be different. Everything changes, everything passes away.
So perhaps, one day, I will not feel so weary.