In the last couple of weeks, two of my favorite actors passed away. All hell broke loose in a Missouri town after an unarmed teenager was shot by a police officer in broad daylight. I began the process of moving to a new apartment. My older sister is now engaged to be married. My parents are in the process of putting the house I have spent the majority of my life in on the market as they prepare to move to Grand Rapids. My baby brother is about to be a senior in high school, and my younger sister is entering her final year of college.
In short, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. Most of it good, some of it not-so-much (I could write an entire post about my feelings about just the loss of Robin Williams or Lauren Bacall, and don’t even get me started on what’s happening in Ferguson). My family is on the brink of quite a bit of change (again, most of it good), and I consider it very typical that all of it should occur within the next year or so. As with most big changes in my life, I’m turning to writing to sort out my thoughts and make sense of what I’m feeling.
Here are a few things that I’ve found so far:
We can try to change the conversation about mental illnesses such as depression, and stress the importance of seeking help and treatment. We can be supportive, and non-judgmental. Everyone is going through something no matter how they may seem on the outside.
We can continue paying attention to what’s happening in Ferguson (and in other areas of the U.S. where this type of flagrant disregard for human decency continues, sadly unchecked in most cases). We can offer sympathy, donations, offers to help in whatever way we can to those affected by the violence and strife.
We can remember that sometimes it’s necessary to reinvent ourselves, to pick up the pieces when our lives are shaken up in some way, and to continue finding work and causes that mean something to us.
We can plan ahead, but we also need to be able to take things as they come — you can still be expected to make big changes no matter how old you are or what your position in life is.
We can continue to learn and stay curious about what’s going on around us, whether we’re in a classroom setting or about to leave one for the first time.
And we can always remember that no matter what is going on in the world, life goes on.
Of course, many of these things are easier said than done, and nothing can be completely fixed or righted overnight. But (and I know this is naive and probably foolish for me to say), I have to believe that it will all work out in some way. So, hang in there, everybody. We’re going to be fine.