Tunnel Vision

Sorry about the lack of Pretty Little Roomies this week, but it was Veteran’s Day, and it needed to be recognized. I was fairly inactive on all social media (except Twitter…), and it gave me a chance to really think about the country we live in. Well, the country I live in–since quite a few of my readers are not from the United States.

In short, Veteran’s Day is a day set aside to honor all those who have fought for our country, and a special shout out to those fighting currently.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you surely have noticed all the news articles surrounding racism, feminism, equality, foreign policy, and so on. It seems that everyone puts aside these thoughts and feelings to honor those who fought for our freedom. However, the next day, we are back to tearing each other apart for having different beliefs.

Likewise, on Thanksgiving, we are all happy and grateful for everything we have, and we pray for those who are not as lucky, but the very next morning, we are fighting each other for cheap Christmas presents.

While I am not innocent of participating in the Black Friday rituals (only last year, though. Crowds give me anxiety), I prefer to stay home the next day with my family and enjoy the time I have with them. Ever since recovery has become a main focus in my life, I have made it a point to think about all of these things year-round.

I have a strange fascination with war (specifically World War II), and that makes me conscious of our soldiers and all their bravery. I have friends in the military and ROTC, and I think about them constantly. They have a courage I could never muster, and I appreciate that every day.

Ever since I decided I was not so ready to leave this life, I have reminded myself how lucky I am to have a family who loves me. I have a home. I have opportunity. And I am beyond grateful for those things. These are things I think about every morning when I wake up. There was once a time when those things did not matter to me, when the Bad Thoughts consumed me so much I could not see beyond them. Now that I see the light in my life, it is highly unlikely that I could ever forget how blessed I am, regardless of problems I still have.

Knowing that there are people in this world who are not nearly as lucky as I am reinforces to me that Christmas is not about getting gifts, it is also about giving them. And that does not mean that you have to buy your friends and family extravagant presents or anything of the sort. Yes, those things are nice, but spending quality time together is much more important. I would much rather go for a nice meal together, or since material things are fun, go for a shopping trip together.

So often do I forget how lucky we are to live in this country where we are free. And many people will disagree with me on that. There is a wage gap between men and women, racism still exists, there have been too many shootings (especially in schools), student debt is only increasing, immigration is an issue…These are all problems that need solutions, but let me tell you something: our country is still learning.

We often say “This is 2015, why haven’t we figured all this out yet?” Well, because we are still a young country. In a hundred years, people are going to look back and say, “Wow, look at the progress they made back then.” And they are also going to say, “It is 3015, why haven’t we figured this out yet?”

No country is perfect, and honestly, no country ever will be. Times will change and so will the people. What we need to do is stop attacking each other, and start getting to the root of the problem. It is not going to solve itself overnight, and in an age where everything happens instantly–phone calls, texts, bank transfers, you name it–we get frustrated whenever our problems don’t disappear with a snap of a finger.

I think it is important to constantly be aware of the blessings in our lives. Of course, there are still problems in the world, and we should work to fix them, but there are so many countries in this world that do not have the same freedoms that we have.

Okay, I am getting a little preachy…but it was just something I noticed yesterday. I think awareness, not only of the issues of today but also of ourselves, is important, and it is something often overlooked. We see one article, one post, one speech, and we think we know everything. I am guilty of it, too. But I am vowing to work on it.

-Ash 🙂

PS It’s Friday the 13th! So be safe out there, folks.

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