Desiderata 2020

Not sure why, or for whom, but I felt it necessary to say this:

If you’re going through hell at the moment –
If your life isn’t anything like what you always hoped it would be-
If people are disappointing you or hurting you –
If you’re hopeless, disconnected, lonely –
If you’ve fallen out of love with music, art, dance, even love –
If you aren’t turned on by the things that used to turn you on –
If you find conversation and philosophy pointless and uninspiring-
If you’ve given up on treating your body like a temple and treat it like a garbage heap –
If you don’t appreciate what others can do for you –
If you’ve forgotten what explosive, unbounded happiness feels like –
If you feel like you’ll never have enough –
If you don’t sleep because your nightmares are worse than being awake –
And if you look around and see a world that’s broken,

Please consider that you’re not alone, that you’re alive, and that all the universe, fate and the most impossible series of events over billions of years conspired to bring you into existence here and now.

That there are many worse off than you, and not just materially.

That this too shall pass, however dark your personal hell might be right now. Whether you’re religious or not, there’s more to existence than the things our five rudimentary, evolved senses can make sense of, and even the greatest objective minds have never denied this.

If your life is a disappointment, that it might be your fault and if that’s true, that you can change it. The alternative is much more horrible to comprehend, so hope it’s your fault.

That you cannot be responsible for the feelings of others, and that if you’ve done nothing to hurt them, you shouldn’t feel guilty about them. That if they have hurt you, you can release the burden on both of you by moving on, even if you can’t find it in yourself to forgive them – but if you don’t forgive them, the burden remains only yours.

That you can make new friends, meet new people, learn new things – and that just one of those people or things will make all the difference. Treat every person as if they have something to tell you that might change your life – and watch how they respond, and rise to that expectation, without exception.

That you don’t need permission to be joyful; and that while euphoria and misery are the poles between which we ebb and flow, you can take exquisite pleasure in a song or a sunset without anyone else on earth knowing of it. Learning to love seemingly trivial things can teach you how to enjoy the greater ones.

Meaning doesn’t come from fulfilling your goals or from triumph or comfort – it comes from taking on responsibility, first for yourself, then for those close to you and finally for greater humanity. You’ll continue to feel empty until you realise that things are reliant on you to operate properly, and that you can create and maintain those things. Don’t lie in bed, get up and trim the grass, tidy your house, organise your world. Wallow, and the meaninglessness will eat you from the inside out – and you’ll deserve it.

Earn a better relationship with your body. Nobody can stop you from eating a donut or lying around all day – but it will stop your heart, eventually. The meat vehicle you inhabit can serve you or you can let it represent your carelessness for all to see. You get to make this call, and it’s never too late.

Finally, countless generations have sacrificed their lives to create the civilisation around you that makes learning, sustenance, law, engineering, construction, time, science, language, religion and culture so easy to access. Pay attention to the things you say about humanity, society, culture and institutions that you didn’t build, but that you’re lucky enough to inherit. If you’re ungrateful for them, you might not deserve them. It is better to be alive now than at any time before on planet earth and there’s nothing you cannot know, that some other primate can. All the information that mankind has amassed is available to you right now. So get off of Facebook and find out whatever you want.

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