January 7, 2010

I'm back....

I have been neglecting this blog of late. I think I have been in sort of a funk and my new year's resolution is to get out of it.

People always tell me that I am idealistic, question how I can believe so much in the good of others, and wonder how I can be so optimistic about social change. Well, at the end of 2009, I hit a wall.

Upon moving to Chicago I found myself in a world unlike anything I had ever experienced. I finally had the opportunity to go to protests, I found people who thought like me, I got involved with an alternative-gift economy (something I had been wanting to start for a while), I discovered intentional communities and was eventually able to move into one, I was growing food for the first time, and the list goes on. I was finally able to live what I had been dreaming up. I felt like I really could change the world and each day I saw that happening.

But by the end of last year, the world didn't quite seem as rose colored. I began to feel overwhelmed by all the problems of the world; hunger, war, capitalism, globalization, etc. And I wasn't finding hope in those near me that before had seemed to hold all the problems. I was working with kids whose parents were struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads while I was getting together with people just like myself (white, university-educated, between the ages of 20-30) and trading stuff we made,"changing the world," and "bringing revolution." We weren't doing anything to help people who weren't like us, unless it was in a paternalistic manner of let's give those poor people some money. What about the fact that D has schizophrenia and will never be able to hold down a job? Is it fair that B has to grow up in a
culture that is not her own without a mother? Is it fair that a drunk driver his J and hurt him and killed his mom?

So, I am now at a crossroads and trying to pick up the pieces. I'm trying to come to terms that my actions probably won't change the world. But I also need to know that my actions can change the world for one person and perhaps that is all that matters.

So, my goal for this upcoming year is to pull myself out of this funk and find hope in the world. To find hope in a little girl telling me she loves me, a smile from the homeless man in the lobby, and in the friends that accept me for who I am.