You’re tired. You’re uninspired. You’re in a seemingly endless cycle.
You feel like you’ve missed out. You’re overwhelmed by circumstances beyond your control. You’re overwhelmed by circumstances you created. You wonder if you made the wrong choice, or if you can ever escape this situation.
You’re SO OVER BEING COLD in an endless, sunless winter.
You feel like no one cares. No one can relate. No one is listening, or you wouldn’t know what to say if they were.
You don’t have enough, and maybe never will. You need to get away, but have no idea where to go.
You’re not as good as him or her. Or them.
You need something. You need help.
You need me.
I need you, too.
I learned something really valuable from an undergraduate student in a public speaking class I taught recently.
We were never meant to live and work alone.
She was making a point about unfair expectations we often put on individuals to solve their own problems, both personal and professional. The solution, she proposed, is not to provide people with better resources, better education, or rely on improved policy or programs.
We simply need to be there for each other – in the most interpersonal, raw, beautiful and messy way. I mean, like being in the same room, the same conversation, the same life. All of us.
The fact of the matter is we’re all obligated to the human race – our neighbors, our sisters and brothers abroad, our family, and that woman struggling to carry her groceries on the bus.
Human existence is a team effort. I mean, look at how all the important things were designed to be done with other people.
- Procreation (non-negotiable)
- High Fives
- Crowd Surfing
For real though, things become so unbalanced if we just collaborate when we finally feel ready to share, get passionate about a cause, grow tired of awkward silence, or become dependent on someone for a felt need.
Here’s something I strongly believe: communal living isn’t optional. We’re here together now, whether we like it or not. We can ignore that fact and do it poorly, but that doesn’t make it less real.
See, our society is obsessed with choice. Options are like a drug. You get a taste, you get used to the feeling of power, you want more, and more is never enough.
If I get to pick what/how/when/where I want almost anything, it’s easy to start believing that people, relationships, and community work in the same way. It goes like this: I want you whenever I decide I want you, and you only get me when I feel like being gotten.
It’s an extremely unbalanced, transactional approach. Look around, and tell me how you think this is working out for our culture. Reliance on self, compartmentalizing, ignoring or overlooking each other is such a big mistake. It’s self-centered. And it’s not getting us very far.
But the truth is, sometimes I hate acting responsibly. Much of the time, I'd rather just work to please, preserve, represent, and be responsible for me. It’s so much easier. But it’s not the way things were meant to work.
Your personality, your skill, your learning style, and really the whole of you (good and bad) are all an essential piece to a puzzle of the human race we’ve all been commissioned to solve. You're complementary to me, as I am to you. I'm missing something without you, and vice versa.
I hate to break it to both of us, but we’re in this together. So let’s figure it out, starting today.
Choose humanity – choose to get messy by opening up your time and attention to someone, choose to be an example for the rest of us and become vulnerable, choose to be an active participant in the story we’re all writing.
You can certainly try to become better without people, to heal whatever is going on inside you or relieve yourself from external circumstances under your own power.
It ultimately won’t work, though. It wasn’t meant to.
Choose to just be here. Be here with us today.
We need each other.