A slump often assails me at year’s end. Could be the post-holiday emotional hangover, or that lost feeling of not knowing - “what happens now?” - as a year of uncertainty, once again, looms large. I almost skipped the whole ritual of choosing a single word to be my guide-post for the coming year. Whatever, I thought. Who cares? I’m tired.
Ah. That is a problem. Not caring is exactly what the world does not need right now.
So, after considering GROW, LEARN, and GIVE, I settled on CARE. The more active verbs stressed me out. I think I’m burned out, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Besides, it’s too easy to GIVE without caring, to GROW and LEARN in an isolate way. It’s time we start thinking communally.
Global climate change, the collapse of democracy, factionalism, widespread distrust – it’s overwhelming. If the Earth is our home, I guiltily find myself trying to slip out of the living room into my own privileged space, and shut the door. What can I do? How can I assure a secure future for my whole family - my sleeping granddaughter and millions more little people just arriving into the world?
Well, I can care. I can pay attention, listen, exercise compassion, and try to help. That’s caring. Maybe my effect will be small, but I’d like to discover what is in my power and apply it. I don’t like not-caring. The world will collapse with all the not-caring that’s going around, the blind denial, the insularity. We are on one planet, all of us. We share this home. Everything we do affects all of us. Time to care.
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.