How to Survive

I started this post about three weeks ago, and have been tinkering with it, changing the introduction, for some time now.

This morning, after a long sleepless night, I got up hoping I'd had a bad nightmare. No such luck.

I read think pieces online. I saw my friend's posts on Facebook. I watched Hillary Clinton's speech just a while ago.

Now, what I think is this. We need today to mourn and regroup, recover from last night's madness. And then we need to take charge.

Here's my personal prescription for dealing with the notion of a monster like Donald Trump in the White House:

Take baby steps. Volunteer for the local United Way, community foundation, or some other group that helps fight poverty and inequality. Become involved in a PTO or other group that helps schools and kids.

Get involved in politics on a local level. Go to local meetings; they are open to the public, with very rare exceptions. Start with the school board or the city council. Run for office, or help someone else run for office.  At the very least, let your mayor know you'd like to serve on a citizen committee. I've served on four such committees over the past few years, and its been a very rewarding and very interesting experience.

Join or start a League of Women Voters. Our community doesn't have one but for a time a branch of the local women's club took an active roll in promoting issues and politics.

Make your own world brighter. Join a church for spiritual sustenance and grounding. Invite friends over for pizza. Exercise. Make regular medical and dental visits. Embark on some DIY projects, or take up a new hobby. Pare down; hold a yard sale. Simplify your life, and your kids' lives. Take time to breath; don't rush from activity to activity. Seek balance.

Make someone else's world better. Our community has an organization that connects donors with needs. Many of the organization's projects are small ones, like collecting jars of peanut butter and jelly for kids' summer snacks, or holding a diaper-bag drive for new mothers. Do something small to help someone. Do lots of small things to help.

Build community. Go to community events and become part of your town or neighborhood. Meanwhile, build a sense of place at home. That may be as simple as rearranging the furniture, or as complex as building a new addition or landscaping your yard.

Broaden your horizons. If you can afford to, travel. Make day trips or long weekend jaunts, if nothing else. A change of scenery is always refreshing.

Read history. Learn about past responses to unfortunate turns of events. Learn from 1930s Germany. Learn from Reconstruction-era America. Read about real leaders, Winston Churchill and Franklyn Delano Roosevelt.

Find your tribe. Make friends with like-minded people. You are not alone.


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