Writer, author, memoir teacher. I write about the connections we find by giving each other the time and space to be heard.

The World in Rehab

“The world is in rehab, taking a breather from business as usual.” – Lissa Rankin

I’ve never been in rehab, but I’ve seen it on TV, so I have some weird idea of what it’s like. Isolation from the world, a long hard look at yourself. Your life. Who’s to blame for what went wrong: you. Lots of self-recrimination.

What I see in the real world today is just the opposite: blame somebody else. The political division in this country is caused by “the other side.” That guy was wearing his mask wrong. The pandemic was caused by China. He went the wrong way down the one-way grocery aisle. She touched the glass at the fish counter when the sign said hands off. Okay, the last two were me.

And that’s just my life. What I read online and see on TV is even worse. Yes, there are good news blogs and even two minutes at the end of a national newscast that focus on what people are doing right. It’s always somebody quite ordinary, never a celebrity or politician, though I’m not knocking those. We need them too. Just maybe not so much. I’d like to send some of them into rehab.

So…if I were in rehab with the rest of the world…which I am…what would I like to change in myself, and my life?

My laptop screen saver is a photo I took on my favorite beach on Maui. It’s my happy place. I go there in my mind during MRIs or dental surgery. But it’s not my home, where I can be found most days and nights. And do I even have the right to go back there, burning fossil fuel that destroys my planet? Do I deserve a happy place so far away, where most people will never go?

I had heart palpitations the other day because my local Starbucks reopened for curbside pickup and the mobile order app didn’t have decaf. I got the espresso. I know better, and can’t even blame myself for that one. I just have to laugh at how hard it is to stay “on the wagon” when Starbucks is right around the corner.

We read about all the great projects people are doing when stuck at home during this pandemic. Do they do projects in the real rehab? I don’t know. I have plenty of projects to keep me busy. But maybe busy is the wrong thing right now. Maybe a time out for a long hard look at what to get rid of might help us heal, change us, burn away the nonsense and make us ready for the better world coming some bright new day.

What about you? Is there something this forced rehab has taken away from you that you don’t want back?

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