This has been a particularly trying year for all of us. Even if we didn't lose our jobs or our houses or go without food we are all feeling stretched a little, or a lot, thin. As this is the case, one would think that everyone would be banding together, getting things done, preserving themselves by taking advantage of strength in numbers (which really is true no matter how independant and individualistic we Americans tend to be). There are so many things we could be doing together to strengthen one another. Our communities should thrive especially during times of hardship. After all, this is when we need each other the most, if not for material support, then certainly emotional.
But this isn't happening. i have seen people become more and more self-centered, and less and less tolerant in the past few months. Whether or not this is a survival instinct--don't trust anyone, take up lots of space, assert your presence, butt heads--i am uncertain. But it is making me very uneasy as we approach what could be a truly earth-shaking era.
i'm not going to get into details here about community strengthening. That will be a much longer post for another time. i will say, however, that there are many ways to make life easier on a small scale for those you come in contact with. smile at people. if they don't smile back, keep smiling as if they were. when you have been in line at the post office for 30 minutes or longer, resist the urge to be vicious to the cashier because they have been there longer than you, and they have probably already been scowled and yelled at by a score of people. Say thank you, please, you're welcome, and have a good day. These are things we tell children to do, and yet we somehow forget that as adults we should keep being courteous to one another. Humans may be animals, but in a way...we're not. So don't act like a pig or a goat (as much as I love them, I can't stand humans who emulate them), and hold that door open for someone even if you judge them to be far enough behind you that you don't have to do it.