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Posts Tagged ‘good society’

I’m not that great. Not really.

I mean, I’m mostly nice (with just the right amount of geeky snark), I make a pretty terrific brownie, and try to be a good partner, daughter, friend, neighbor, and co-worker, but I haven’t started a food distribution center to feed first responders this past year, or learned a new language or solved the medical problem that’s stumping a family member’s doctors or crossed off everything on my to-do list or single-handedly saved Ontario’s bees. At some level, I feel I should have done all of those things and more, but no.

I’m not Melinda Gates, Mother Theresa, Jane Goodall, José Andrés, Greta Thunberg, Jonas Salk, David Suzuki, world-changingly great. 

Sorry, supportive parental units. You tried.

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And please don’t take offense, but you probably aren’t either. I bet you are kind and thoughtful and a good hugger with excellent taste in music and a winning smile who looks out for pets and children, but you aren’t, say, Malala. By definition, most people aren’t. 

So I’m not extra special super amazing. You’re probably not extra special super amazing. And that’s ok.

Because together, we are magic.

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What makes a society great?

I submit to you that we regular folks have far more impact on society than we’re given credit for. The median is the best indicator of a curve’s central anchor, not the outliers.

Yes, innovation like the automobile, vaccines, or the personal computer can upend the ways we live and work, but those events happen within a context. 

That context is the one we build every day, with every action, big or small. Have I sent out Mothers’ Day cards, let myself off the hook for not sending those cards sooner,* waved at the neighbor, picked up that annoying plastic bag stuck in the cedar, fed the birds, voted, donated to a nonprofit doing good work, planted for pollinators, baked for our mechanic, followed traffic laws, ignored rabid commentary designed to monetize my attention at the expense of democracy, and generally done my best to help steer the ship to a better place?

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What we do matters. Maybe I’m not extra special super amazing, but that’s ok. I don’t have to be. I can still be part of something great.

We all can.

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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* Sorry, Moms!

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From Flash Fiction Online’s Facebook page. I can’t even say how much I love this…

Like many other committed readers and writers, I spent a significant part of my time from childhood on in public libraries. People often take them for granted now, but imagine a time (or place) where you couldn’t pop down to the corner for a book, or a consultation with a librarian, or a safe quiet place to read and work, where knowledge wasn’t freely available to all. What a wonderful invention.

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