On New Year’s Day I ended up at an impromptu brunch where we had a discussion that was like a distillation of conversations I’ve been having throughout 2006, meaning a mix of despairing and philosophical.
Of course I can’t make any kind of general statement about The Dyke Experience for 2006, but for my own small group of friends and acquaintances it was a rough year. Women got really sick or went through serious depressions about their relationships or jobs or life paths in general. Meanwhile the world around us got worse and worse, with cruel and stupid leaders taking over everything, from Harper down to Sullivan, and starvation, torture and bombings everywhere.
So at this brunch we started out with a good round of “Fuck, it’s 2007 and what are we doing with our lives? We have failed in so many ways. We are such bad people. Our lives suck.”
Often this type of talk leads to New Year’s resolutions: this year I will quit my job and travel the world helping those less fortunate. I will throw off the shackles of convention and embrace polyamory. I will run the marathon and give up all simple carbs.
But we didn’t make any resolutions that afternoon because someone said, “What exactly are we supposed to be doing with our lives that we haven’t done? What is the something mysterious that we are all failing at?”
That’s easy, I thought. We’re failing at being perfect. We should have jobs that are deeply meaningful and creative. We should be intensely spiritual and extremely kind. We should be rocks for our family and friends at all times. Not only that, but we should eat better and exercise more and make more money. Right?
Well apparently there is another way of looking at things.
My friend went on to say, “Maybe we are already doing what we are supposed to be doing.” The more we thought about this, the less shitty we all felt.
I generally hate this kind of pop Buddhist philosophy, which is easily interpreted as permission to be complacent or lazy or mean. Like, “I know I’m not helping my friends or the community at all but I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing so it’s okay.”
But that afternoon, I could really see that most of us could benefit from a little less self-recrimination, a little more patience, and a little more appreciation of ourselves and the goodness of our lives.
So relax a bit in 2007. Your own small queer life is fine the way it is. You are a good person. You are doing what you’re supposed to be doing.