A Life Worth Living
My first blog post is about the death of Betty White; and, the loss we feel because of it. And the loss of 2021.
All right. I know how that sounds. The LOSS of 2021? Most people wanted to kick that shitty year to the curb sometime back in the early spring when we thought 2020 was just a bad dream--a nightmare, really--from which we finally awoke. Or...which we finally woke up from. (*Disclaimer: I AM an English teacher. I DO understand the rules of grammar; HOWEVER, for this blog, I am instituting my creative license and artistic right to write the way I want. So, I may be ignoring the "rules." Trust me. I know them). The loss of 2021...
In all sense of the word, it WAS a loss, especially if you were a healthcare worker. Or a teacher. Or a cashier. Or a truck driver. Or a student. Or a HUMAN BEING. It stung this year. People spewed vile, angry, irrelevant and vitriolic untruths about...let's see...healthcare workers, teachers, cashiers, truck drivers, students, and any other human being they felt warranted their wrath. It was as if that infamous storm on the capital January 6th was a harbinger of what was to come. No matter the election. No matter common sense. No matter human consideration or dignity. It was a full on war against humanity. A true LORD OF THE FLIES situation...kill or be killed. It was a year when people stood up at school board meetings screaming at people who serve the public, who protect their children, who give and give until they don't have anything left to give in their own homes. A year of: DO NOT TELL ME WHAT TO DO IN THE NAME OF DECENCY AND ALL THAT IS INHERENT IN BEING A HUMAN BEING! I just wanna contest election results, secure voter obfuscation, spittle all over my fellow Wal-mart shopper AND the CDC, all in the name of MY-RIGHTS-ARE-MORE-IMPORTANT-THAN-YOUR-LIFE (or your mother’s life, husband’s life, neighbor’s life...) A year of completely ignoring the idea that individuals are OF one, not THE one.
Insert sigh...Let's get back to Betty White.
Her death yesterday was the final impetus I needed (ie...KICK IN THE ASS) to start this blog. One of the bazillions of blogs available for our bogged down brains (so I thank you for reading mine). I was struck by the OUTPOURING of love and sorrow people from all over the country expressed over the death of this 99 year old woman. It is clear that she was talented. And funny. And kind. Generous to all, and especially to the better of us--the animals. She stood the test of time. She was in fact, timeless. Generation--less. She was the epitome of what it meant to rise above all the nonsense in the world, and just show love. Betty White indeed demonstrated and lived all of those things. But she WAS 99. Why were we all so surprised???
It is a true testament of character, of wisdom, of humanity for a person to be MOURNED, and for a life ended at 99 to be called "too soon". Betty White's death is a marquee-sized-lightbulb-wake-up-call that we need to be better humans. We need to drink the vodka. Or not. Eat the hot dog. Or not. Wear pink on Wednesdays. Or not. What we do need to do is to respect the vodka-drinking-hot-dog-eating-pink-on-Wednesdays-wearing people who show up in kindness. And compassion. And respect. For everyone--not just those who are wearing your shade of red, white and blue. And the timing of her message could not be more perfect in the literal and metaphorical way of starting fresh, beginning anew...being better.
I am so NOT saying that I am this selfless, love-filled, kind person much of the time. I know that I am not. As a matter of fact, those who know me know that one of my most used expressions is, “I hate everyone” (usually out of exasperation and not true hatred--most of the time.) Some people make me physically sick to my stomach, and all I want to do is rage, and let them know exactly how wrong they are about EVERY. SINGLE. VILE. REPULSIVE. THING. THEY. SAY. But...I WANT to be that goooooooood person. I aspire to be that person. And that's the difference between me, and my friends, and my family, and so many others in this country... I may never become the all-loving, sweet, innocent Rose Nyland that Ms. White so brilliantly portrayed during her GOLDEN GIRLS years. And I highly doubt that I will ascend to the status of Betty White's genuineness and altruism...But I WANT to.
I WANT for people to say when I leave this realm, "Wow. Too soon," no matter how old I am. Because I want to be good. And do good. And help others to be, and do, good, too. That's what we should all resolve to be in 2022...(and freaking stop calling it "2020, too", y'all. That does NOT help)...just be better. Better listeners. Better speakers. Better friends. Better neighbors. Better humans.
So yes. For many of us, we say to 2021, "See ya!" like old milk you find in the back of the fridge when you gave up dairy in 2020...but let's not forget that despite the fact that we usher it out with great exhaustion, we should also welcome in with open arms 2022 with all her feathery glory of possibility and hope. You know. The kind Rose would wear in St. Olaf during the Kurblurkenoff Festival (I totally made that up) while eating cheesecake with Mary Tyler Moore and Ed Asner...(I kid. I know my television history!). Let's all resolve that THIS YEAR, it WILL be different. WE will be different.
We will just be better.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Let me know what you think. THANK YOU!