Terry from Derry: Just Another Year
By Terry Boyle
I’m sure everyone has had enough of hearing about the pandemic and last year’s political antics. It’s true that we’ve not seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet. And, the suspicion that if we did see a light, it might be a train coming our way is not totally unfounded.
It is easy to lull ourselves into believing that it can’t get worse when in fact it can, as we have seen from the wide tornado swath that ran across part of the U.S. If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that our existence on this planet is extremely fragile. And, if the virus doesn’t finish us off, then our massive carbon footprint will. So, we’ll inevitably start the new year as we usually do, by resolving to be better people.
However, instead of the usual dieting and getting fit resolutions, we need to think more universally and together make sure that whom we voted for do two things. They must firstly invest more money into medical research. We were caught out last time because those in power withdrew valuable resources from the medical field deeming it to be a lesser priority.
Such thinking is tantamount to not having your house insured because you think it won’t happen to you. Once it does happen to you, you’re homeless or worse…. dead, and it’s too late. To ensure we don’t make the same mistake twice, we need to learn from our past and stop pretending everything is going to be all right this time around.
Secondly, the reality of climate change is already making itself felt in ways that will continue to threaten our existence. It’s amazing to see how even the most confirmed unbeliever is beginning to realize that we’ve pushed the self-destruct button when it comes to the irreversible changes we’ve created by selfishly putting profit before safety.
In the coming years, we’re going to see profound changes to our world, things we couldn’t imagine ever happening. Scientists are still speculating as to what sort of things might happen. We need to be prepared to bear the consequences of our actions and vote for people who will make climate change a priority.
New Year’s Resolutions
The beginning of the year should be a good time to reflect on our past actions. It should be a good time to take a more positive step towards a common goal, a better world, but we all know how easily new year’s resolutions end up as wishful thinking.
The diet ends up being consumed by the first tempting piece of cake. The gym membership works great for the first few weeks but then it gets harder to motivate yourself to make time for slogging it out on a machine. New Year’s resolutions are simply another way to beat ourselves up for our failures.
We set our goals so high, it’s no wonder we end up being disappointed in ourselves. And yet, we still continue the cycle every year, hoping that this year will be different. The definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome.
The motivation for change is always commendable. However, there comes a point, when you’ve done the same thing year after year, you ask yourself if you’re doing something wrong. I’ve no great advice for dieting or exercise. It’s something I leave to those who write books on the latest approach to fat-busting.
The only thing I know about change is that it takes time. Ignore the latest fad about how easy it is to be thin or fit. It’s a gimmick to sell an idea that is like every other idea that promises instant results, it’s a con. It’s the same with political slogans. They promise an easy fix to difficult problems, and no matter how much we want to believe it’s possible, the reality is that real change is hard.
In order for us to change our way of thinking, we have to allow ourselves to hear a few blunt home truths that we would prefer to ignore. There’s no point in switching the channel or changing the subject when you’ve had your fill of how screwed the planet is. Our denials only make things worse.
We can only really begin to do something when we finally accept that change is hard. To try and undo what we’ve done to the planet means inconveniencing ourselves. A diet requires depriving yourself of something that is harmful to your body. You diet in order to make yourself healthy, so that you might live longer. Going to the gym is equally a way to keep your body fit and strong.
Denying yourself certain foods and changing your lifestyle to include regular exercise can only work if you’re disgusted enough with who you are. At a microcosmic level, when someone engages with such home truths it leads to change.
It is the same at the macrocosmic level. Collectively, we can effect change for our world if we’re repulsed enough by what we’ve done to ensure our own destruction. The fat does not roll-off. No one’s body instantly goes from unfit to fit.
In the same way, simply having the motivation to change the future of our world is not enough. The real work happens at the polling booth.
Bad for Our Health
If politicians have sold their souls out to the profiteers, they are bad for your health. When a politician’s interests lie in putting profit before your continued existence or your children’s, then something is wrong.
We make politicians accountable in the most democratic way possible when we vote. It’s time to put away our political loyalties and vote for the person who is going to deal with the real problems that threaten our existence.
This year is an important one. The political decisions we make this year will affect our future. If we can tune out the circus of personalities and the usual bluster of competing voices, we might see clearly which candidates are thinking beyond the insularity of party rivalries to address the real problems that our world. This is not just another year; it could be the one that seals our fate as humans.
Let’s not delude ourselves into believing that the party we’ve always voted for is going to have our best interests at heart. Be critical of their agenda. Read the small print. It could be a case of voter beware. Who you voted for might not be good for your health.