39 Years

In which RVA reveals the secret to a good life…

We’re going to be okay.

The world is a scary place right now and a lot is going wrong.  It seems every time I check the news, corruption threatens freedom, life, and liberty.  Greed is single-handedly destroying the world and everything in it.  There’s nothing good left, right?

There’s plenty good left.

I just celebrated by 39th birthday and in the nearly four decades of life, I’ve done a lot and seen a lot more.  And I’ve learned still more than that.  So rather than doom and gloom and things going boom, let’s discuss what is hopeful.

1 – On the timeline of history, justice, liberty, and decency always wins out.  Yes, things backslide.  Yes, the forces of evil rise periodically and seem to make gains.  But on a long enough timeline, good has always prevailed.  Always.  Without fail.

2 – In a world full of big problems, it is the small gestures that make the impact.  Voting for the president has far-reaching implications, but that pales compared to voting for the school board or the county commissioner.  The local elections matter more than the state and national elections.  And its that that your vote can truly make the difference, not just in policy by in the way the world is shaped for literally decades to come.  A good school board can shape the minds of students for generations and that will effect voters for generations and that will effect a nation for generations.  It is local elections that matter the most.

3 – The ills of the world perpetuate because of cycles.  Bottled water ruins ecosystems.  People buy bottled water because tap water is contaminated.  Tap water is contaminated because businesses exploit loop holes in pollution laws.  Loop holes in pollution laws exist because corrupt politicians put the interests of businesses ahead of the people.  Corrupt politicians get elected because people don’t vote.  People don’t vote because they have to work so much.  People have to work so much because the cost of living is high due to things like having to buy bottled water.  But if people vote, politics can get refreshed, loop holes closed, laws corrected, businesses stopped, and utilities cleaned.  If you can see the cycle that gives birth to a problem, you can find in that cycle a place where it can be broken.  Break the cycle and all the ills will come crashing down in time.

4 – People of action complain about voting and other civic acts displacing responsibility and accountability.  They suggest that voting is an illusion of will, when in reality it isn’t an illusion, it is an act of collective might.  By voting, we exert indirect force on our society.  It seems indirect, but so is a lever on a fulcrum.  Voting is very much the same principle.  Apply indirect force, but with enough thought and reason, the universe itself can be moved.

We’re going to be okay.  There are tragedies and sorrow a-plenty, make no mistake.  We have to take care of each other and ourselves, we have to look out for each other, and remain both vigilant and aware.  But we have to see the good and not just the bad, we have to see the hope and not just the sorrow.  We have to see the love behind the hatred.

In 39 years, here’s what I’ve learned: tricks and hacks, details and snippets, can change lives, but what makes a life worth living comes down to just two mantras:

Do more for others than you do for yourself, and be good to yourself.

Be guided by those two things and you’ll be okay.  We’ll all be okay.

Author: Robert V Aldrich

Author. Speaker. Cancer Researcher. Martial Artist. Illustrator. Cat dad. Nerd.

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