You are not responsible for the world ending!

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I don’t know about you all, but lately it has felt like the world is ending. And by lately, I mean my entire lifetime. And by “the world is ending,” I mean I have no hope for our future. Also, I know for a fact I’m not the only one who feels like this. I have a conversation like this with someone at least every day! Eek! What are we going to do about that?! 

But seriously, this feeling of hopelessness has completely washed over not only me, not only this campus, but my entire generation, and dare I say the whole world? No one feels especially good right now. While it’s kind of cool that we all have this one, collective feeling, it also really, really sucks. Because when we all feel crappy, who is going to cheer us up? Well, have no fear, because I have decided to take it upon myself to make us feel a little less bad. I can’t promise the world isn’t ending, but I can try to make you take on a different perspective about life right now. 

It seems like every single person I talk to has something going wrong in their life. While a good chunk of these issues stem from the pandemic, there is just kind of this general, dreadful mood in the air. While I’d like to blame the whole thing on Mercury being in retrograde, I will refrain. To all my astrology haters out there, you’re welcome. 

I think the important thing to remember is that right now there are a lot of reasons we might be feeling hopeless. All of them are valid. Some of these reasons impact me, and some don’t. My reason for feeling bad might be totally different from the person next to me, and that’s okay. The point is we’re all feeling weird for so many different reasons. 

And, above all, I feel like there’s a lot of pressure on my generation to fix the world’s problems. Everywhere I look, social media especially, there seems to be another social issue we need to tackle. And, what’s worse, we seem to only be moving backwards. I don’t mean to be negative. I know good things happen every day and small steps forward should be celebrated. But, when we’re all living through so much, I can’t help but think about how much more we need to do to save this world. 

And this is where I offer advice. Please stop assuming you are the one person who can fix the planet. I know you think it sometimes! I mean, with every news article, Facebook post and Instagram graphic I see, it certainly feels like it’s me against the world sometimes.  

I am absolutely not telling you to stop trying to do good in the world. We should be confronting social issues. We should be trying to minimize climate change. We should be having debates and discussions and public forums. What we shouldn’t be doing, however, is taking every single thing into our own hands. If we assume we need to do everything for everyone all the time, how are we supposed to get anything done? 

Sometimes, it literally feels like the weight of the entire world is on our shoulders. That’s a lot to carry. Let’s work on taking some of that baggage off. Now is the time to focus only on the obstacles right in front of you. You should really only be taking baby steps, and I mean that. What matters to you (and I mean only you) most? What do you have the energy to focus on? What can you take on right now, if anything? These are the questions you should be asking yourself every day. 

Obviously, you should keep working on the problems that matter to you. But also don’t assume you need to do everything. Taking care of the world requires a lot of energy and effort. Before you keep pushing along like I know you Lawrentians love to do, take a moment to take care of yourself. Above all, don’t blame yourself. A lot of things in life are uncertain. A lot of things are out of our control. If you feel like the world is ending, just know it’s not your fault. You have done a lot of good for the world, and you will continue to do a lot of good.  

And if you need a glimmer of hope, I hope you know how much faith I have in our community. If there is anyone I can bet on to save the world, I bet on us. Please, do your best to take care of yourself, and the next time you run into someone feeling a little hopeless, offer them a helping hand. Let’s work to take care of ourselves and each other before we get back to saving the world.