By Jared Ipsen
Sep 30, 2019

What We Have Left

Whelmed.

It’s no wonder that depression is on the rise in our country when the planet we’re living on is so fucked. There’s 1.6 million square kilometers of trash in our ocean. Koalas are functionally extinct. Limitless got cancelled. Every day, we’re bombarded with a steady diet of bad news - the Cherry Tree Festival was called off, Spark Sport sucks, Kawhi is still signed to the Clippers. And yet, in the face of all of this, we still have to get up every day and pretend to be normal people, while we scream internally and remember the worst things we’ve ever done on a loop.

This is how I used to live - and still do, sometimes. The weight of everything wrong with the world, and myself, was overwhelming to me. It was hard to see the point of anything when it seemed like there was no hope for the future. Years of depression turned into anger (and not the good kind that gets shit done). My anger was the kind directed inwards, telling me I’d be worth something if I tried harder, worked harder, woke up earlier, made the world a better place. I wanted to fix everything, but I couldn’t even get my own life in order.

This way of living, though - being resigned to our fate and doing shit-all about it - isn’t actually helpful.

In the face of a catastrophic climate crisis, it feels like all the little things we do aren’t actually going to help. We can stop using straws. We can use our cars less. We can pick up rubbish on the street. But all of our small actions to try and improve things are just a drop in the ocean compared to the sheer amount of toxic gas being pumped into our atmosphere by giant corporations. Why should we even bother? And how are we gonna make a change when the very society we live in is designed around using things as fast as possible and throwing them away?

These are all perfectly understandable ways to feel about the state of things - but I think that the small things we do in our life do make a massive difference, though. Sure, a few more people not using wet wipes isn’t going to be a massive help for our planet, but I don’t really see that as the point - the point is, giving a shit is one of the only things we have left.

The media and internet culture has broken us down and numbed us so much that empathy, kindness, and sensitivity are seen as weakness, parts of us that can be mocked and attacked. They want us to be disconnected, bored, listless, docile. The more our pain and anger is directed toward ourselves, the less likely it is we’ll stand up and challenge the status quo. We’re so busy performing and pretending for each other that we’ve forgotten how to love and respect ourselves, each other, and this planet that we call home. Maybe it’s our fear of failure that holds us back, too - if we never try and improve ourselves and make the world a better place, at least we won’t have to deal with the shame when we inevitably make mistakes and mess up.

But I say fuck that. Let’s make mistakes. Let’s mess up. Let’s wear our hearts on our sleeves and embrace the joy, the anger, the pain, the grief that comes with giving a shit about something. Whether that be environmental change, mental health, self love, coming to terms with your identity - we can make a difference, even if it’s just inside our ourselves. And that’s enough.

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