A great deal of what I wrote in my introductory post hinges on finding your bearings and adopting a usable outlook. I mentioned that I’ve found a more optimistic perspective on things over the past year or so, but I probably haven’t explained that in enough detail for it to make sense or serve as useful, practical advice. How can anyone maintain a positive outlook when it feels like everything that matters most is collapsing around him? Let me try to break it down into actionable parts:
- Take the long view. Zoom out to the big picture. Unplug a bit from the 24/7 news cycle. You don’t have to disengage completely; just get a limiting handle on your compulsion to continually check whether the sky is falling. Try to think less of the day-to-day outrages that push your buttons, and more of the course of civilizations and humanity over the centuries. Think how rare it is, and how lucky we are, to get to live in a culture devoted to Liberty — even if during said culture’s self-inflicted decline. We get to carry that torch, and fight for what happens next. How amazing is that?
- Appreciate the absurdity of what’s happening, and do your best to laugh it off. Anything that can’t go on forever, won’t. (Unfortunately, this applies to the good as well as the bad, which is why the fight we’re in is eternal.) The culture is getting more ridiculous by the day. Our opponents continue to demonstrate that they are all about force and intimidation and shutting you up. It is a philosophy by and for terrified control freaks, that is deeply and unsustainably anti-liberal in its wish to dictate what you are permitted to do, say, and think, and seems poised to crumble from its own contradictions and factional infighting. This nonsense cannot possibly go on forever.
- Embrace a sense of purpose. Love the challenge you’ve been given, and look at it as a gift. Life’s trials offer us the opportunity to rise to the occasion and show what we’re made of. How will you respond?
- Appreciate the beauty of what you’re working toward. If you’re here, I suspect you may feel it as I do, and if you don’t, I’m not sure I can motivate it for you. There is little in this world so precious as a life that is truly one’s own, as a life lived in a culture that’s devoted to minimizing coercion and leaving people free to fulfill their greatest potentials unhindered. That’s where I want to live. And it’s not a “nice to have” for me. It’s an imperative. I will work as hard as I have to to get there. Don’t let others drag you down with their perpetual bitterness, anger, and cries for attention. Your love of what you cherish and live for has to be stronger than their small, joyless contempt.
- Be kind to yourself. If you find you’re surrounded by people who constantly remind you how much they despise your loathsome kind, consider moving! Leaving California for New Jersey, a place where I’m not immersed in an in-your-face, conservative-hating activist culture, has done wonders for my blood pressure and sense of well-being. Think of it as respecting yourself enough to go where you are wanted, and to waste no more time among people to whom you’re an evil cartoon caricature. Who can make real friendships in a place like that? It’s a shame in some ways to have to leave the place where I was born, grew up, and lived 30 years of my life, but I have no regrets and no interest in going back. The place seems to be self-destructing, and I don’t see a happy future there — so why tie my life to it? My future and its great potentials lie elsewhere.
- Publish. Consider putting your thoughts out there in some form. Try to favor frequency over grand, ambitious scope, if pursuit of the latter would leave you hesitating too much. If you don’t have time for blog posts, tweet. You may find, as I do, that the simple act of doing something about what troubles you does more to lighten your mood and reduce stress than just about anything else. I’ve found that the longer I go between publishing, the more easily I get worked up about stuff I could otherwise weather with relative ease. I know to expect it now, but it still surprises me how much my load feels lifted after I write my thoughts down and publish them. Plus the bonus: What you’ve written may help others.
Ultimately, it’s your own inner strength and resilience that will see you through: You must make yourself indestructible in your heart and mind. But merely hunkering down and enduring the gloom isn’t the answer. Like I said, we’re going places, and building something far better. So pick up, dust off, and let’s move!…