I spent Labor Day weekend on an emotional roller coaster.
Without digging too deeply into my political opinions (because I believe that environmentalism can and should be a bipartisan endeavor), let me just say that it started with a certain news channel launching a smear campaign against one of my green heroes. I was pissed off.
Then, I got pulled into a debate over health care with a Facebook friend after she posted a bunch of links from truth-spinning sources. This also pissed me off because I am not a health care activist, I am an environmental activist. I support health care reform but have not followed the debate closely enough to argue for or against any particular plan. But someone has got to fight back against the crazy!
Then there was that whole thing about not allowing the President of the United States to speak to our school children about staying in school. What the crap?
The final blow came on Sunday morning when I learned that the above-mentioned green hero had resigned. At that news, my anger fizzled away and I was left with a deep, deep sadness. I spent most of Sunday staring into the distance, contemplating the state of the world and the point of all things.
This is not the first time my emotions have gone on a roller coaster ride because of political events. In fact, it happens a lot lately. I call it The Curse of Caring.
Back when I paid lip service to the green life but mostly went on living like a typical American, it was easy to put on my blinders and hole up in my blissfully ignorant life. Knowledge, frankly, can be a big downer, so I can understand when friends interrupt my well-intentioned attempts at info-sharing with the assertion: "I don't want to know."
When I decided not just to green my life but to blog about it and to take steps to become active in my community, my whole outlook changed, for better or for worse. I scan the headlines for signs of progress. I have emotional highs and lows based on circumstances beyond my control. I care, and that's the curse of caring.
When I get in these moods, the best prescription is a mental reminder that we win some and we lose some but we can't stop trying. There will be no change if we don't even try. Or in No Impact Man's marvelous words to Fake Plastic Fish last week:
There's such a thing as being overwhelmed and feeling the feelings, and also putting one foot in front of the other, right? At the same time.But sometimes what I really need is just to know that I'm not feeling this all alone. I need someone (besides my terrific husband) to say, "I'm pissed off too. And overwhelmed. And discouraged. But it's okay. We can still do this thing."
So the important thing about being overwhelmed is not to be overwhelmed to the point of incapacity.
So please, my green friends. Tell me. Do you feel it too?
Photo by Tanki