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Maintaining a Bright Outlook in Trying Times

These past couple years have been a wild ride. Trying to analyze 2019 to 2021 will make your head spin.

The world is changing and it is changing overwhelmingly fast. Its no surprise to me that mental health has started to recieve the national attention that it always should have. It can be very difficult to go on as normal under the mounting pressure of local and global tension. I am often reminded these days of a fantastic song by Laurie Anderson with a very simple message.

Let X = X.

Or, Let what it is equal what it is.

There is a definitive moment in your teenage or young adult life when you start to realise that the world you live in is a turbulent, violent, cruel and unfair one. There are systems of power that you cannot remove. There are problems that you alone cannot solve. It is very easy to feel powerless against a future that you cannot alter or control. But, let's take that mathematical truth and alter it.

Let X = X. It is what it is but it is not in a vacuum. Let X+Y = X+Y.

Life is beautiful in equal measure to its cruelty, but it is not equally cruel to everyone. There are selfless and important acts of kindness that we can see every winter as Canadians. A bad snowfall hits and outside, teams of neighbours are shoveling and clearing snow. Three dads push a car until it gets free of its parking spot. Somebody offers these volunteers a warm coffee.

These are things that we see every year here and they paint an important streak of colour on an otherwise bleak canvas. This is our Y. What we add to the world to make what it is into something a little better. This is the most base level power you have to make things better and it is as easy as mutual respect, good manners and a helping hand.

Another super powerful and important thing you can do in a world of rapidly changing political fields is to be wary of being sold an Us versus Them narrative. This is the bedrock of political loyalty and a very easy way to have wool pulled over your eyes. Be cautious of dehumanizing/demonizing your fellow citizens TO A POINT. Obviously stand tall against intolerance and hatred but in doing so, understand that paranoia and stress make people vulnerable to being sold a narrative that makes everybody else look like an enemy. We aren't all in the same boat but we're all in the same storm and we have to extend the olive branch of cooperation, even if folks won't take it. In that case, let X = X. A bee doesn't waste much time explaining to flies that honey is sweeter than crap.

I know that its a contradictory message but my point is that being good to one another is always going to be a better option for yourself and your community, and it helps take the edge off of modern stress for everybody. Do what you can with a less than ideal situation, help your neighbours, love your family, and remember that we might not all be in the same boat but we are all in the same storm.


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