I thought on this downer of a day after the night that wasn’t, I might share a bit of ancient wisdom, one of the mini philosophies my dad was semi famous for in certain circles (some of which run along the lines of: A parking lot is the most dangerous place in the world, and Never go to bed with your vice grip open).
The one that strikes me as most relevant to the current state of affairs however, was one he delivered when I was about twenty and having some major drama from which I was certain I’d never recover. We were in the car, he was driving, I was in the back seat—I’m not sure why, a cat may have been involved in some peripheral way—and when I finally stopped whinging about whatever my tragic situation was, long enough to blow my nose, he said something like this:
I hope you know how lucky you are.
Huh? Maybe my ears had blocked. Surely what he actually said was oh-you-poor-sweet-trodden-upon-angel-would-a-hundred-bucks-help?
But no. He repeated the luck thing and then explained how, when you were about as low as you could go, you should be happy because according to the law of physics or the universe, or possibly carpentry, you have no place to go but up. In his books, gloom and doom was precisely the time to rejoice.
Then he added: It’s when everything is going just fine that you have to worry.
I don’t remember saying thanks. Probably blew my nose a bit longer and started talking to the cat; it didn’t matter though, he’d worked his magic. I’ve never forgotten the message. Ever since, every time life seems to suck, I think, okay, don’t panic, an upswing is around the corner. And every time, there is.
The point—and there is one—of all this, is to say I’ve decided not to mourn ‘What Could Have Been’ had last night’s election gone differently, but to accept the reality as a kind of juicy lemon. There may well be some sort of ‘law of balances’ out there and all will magically revert to good, but I think the real key to finding success after failure is the way failure can feel like a kick in the butt that rocks you out of complacency.
The point is this: as individuals, we all have choices about our future, including the kind of society we create, and despite what ‘They’ would have us believe, our lives are not in someone else’s hands and society isn’t built by governments but by what ‘We’ do and what we support. Let’s remember that we live in a country where we can exercise choices every single day. And in the long run, maybe making the decision to make those daily choices count is what will serve us best.