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I'm Erin Judge. I'm a comedian and a writer. I live in Los Angeles. Let's hug.

January 5, 2011

a new year

This is the place where I write things for minimum public consumption where I don't make myself be funny or try too hard. So get ready for some SINCERE ASS SHIT, people!

A lot of humans and hipsters seem to be talking about the end of the world. The Mayan Apocalypse (not a thing), birds falling out of the sky, and other signs from the Tweetosphere. Ashton Kutcher is apparently all about the "end of day," where he will somehow save his loved ones from marauding mobs through graceful feats of power yoga. (Here's the problem with that: most people don't actually act like dicks in actual emergencies.)

We are all going to die. I sincerely doubt that it will all be at the same time, but you never know. Also, things will definitely change. Maybe we'll lose the bees or run out of oil or elect Snooki president. The future is a veritable cornucopia of shitty possibilities.

I'm not too worried about any of these things coming true. I am, however, deeply upset about all the people thinking, talking, and even flippantly snarking about these dark scenarios. To me, the obsessive anxiety is an indication that people feel extremely helpless right now. So many are out of work or otherwise underemployed in their own lives, and they're simultaneously overcommitted and feeling hyper-responsible for every aspect of their existences. The media has middle-class Americans convinced that we're all capable of controlling -- and therefor are ultimately responsible for -- our appearance, our health, our safety, our prosperity, the well-being of our families, the way our kids turn out, the happiness of our partners, and ten million other things that are ultimately not entirely in anybody's control. Unreasonable expectations beget heightened states of anxiety. Pretty soon, everywhere you turn reveals a sign of doom.

As I said earlier, it's just a fact: we are all going to die. The question, totes obv, is how are we going to live? Are we going to fret and fear and retweet the signs of terror, including all the ones we have no expertise or ability to do a damn thing about? Or are we going to pour our human energy and creativity into solutions to our daily problems and an appreciation for what we do have?

I think modern Americans really like to feel unsafe. It makes us feel morally okay about all the casual harm we do, for one thing, and it's easier to avoid the existential questions of what life is about if our only focus is staving off death. As much as anyone in history, we are safe. And yet we are so worried. We choose anxiety over the alienation that comes from relinquishing social and personal expectations. We choose the living death of worry over authentic engagement. But I believe we can all break free. Through becoming part of a community, through generosity, through authentic connections, through political and social activism, through charity, through art, through it all, we can find ways to fill our lives with meaning, even as we hold the existential knowledge that our impact is ultimately probably pretty minuscule. It's a tough row to hoe, but we can do it.

Finally, the chatterverse of the internet has become a place where too many people just blow off steam and project their shitty attitudes out into the world. I'm kind of lonely and sad too, and I'm terrified that my life isn't going to matter (quasi-comforting upshot/downshot: it's definitely not going to, if looked at on a big enough scale). But come on, grownup adult people. Stop freaking out kids and the mentally ill with your doom-and-gloom vibes. Given all the obnoxious white noise about the End of Days lately, I am extremely grateful that Twitter and Facebook were not around before Y2K. So thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for being born in 1997 or whatever.

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