where is the “simple + good” in 2021?

Amidst the wreckage of political unrest and domestic terrorism that we have already experienced in this new year of 2021, I must believe that there is hope. Not because I have any political agenda, not because I want to win, but because all I want – all that I believe to be simple + good – is unity, understanding, and basic human decency.

I feel my blood boil every morning as my small Hyundai Elantra is tailgated down our country roads by former city dwellers with bright LED lights aimed directly into my rearview mirror. I hold back my frustration as I face countless customers who refuse to wear their mask in my presence, when several in our community have already been gravely ill or died from the pandemic that still ravishes our country. I do my best to be kind when an old man looks at me as nothing more than a servant, put there to pour his “cup of coffee, black,” day after day after day.

Today, a friend from Norway reached out to me on Facebook to ask what in the world was going on in the States. Four dead, buildings rampaged, all over a president who appears to have lost his mind to greed and power. This is scary shit. This is how the world has to see us as a nation, once respectable, a melting pot of opportunity. What the hell happened? How are we still here, still divided, still full of unrest and distrust and pure, unadulterated hatred?

I call bullshit. We are better than this.

A simple + good life is not about a capsule wardrobe or a pleasing palate of neutral tones. It’s not about DIY projects or tiny homes or growing your own vegetables. A simple + good life is about action – the tiniest of actions – that make our daily lives a little bit easier because we don’t have to live in fear of one another.

Frankly, I’m scared of that guy in the big truck who pushes me down the road at 6:20 AM. I’m scared of the people who won’t keep themselves or others safe and healthy. I’m scared of those who dare to see themselves as better or wealthier or stronger. I’m scared of the cops who will shoot a black man with no good reason at all. And I’m sure as hell scared of a bunch of raving Trump-supporters rampaging Washington D.C..

Because deep down, I’m scared of what lies behind their actions, none of which are rooted in kindness or an attempt at understanding.

And kind is such an easy thing to be. Or, at least, it’s supposed to be.

Personally, I’m still putting together the pieces of what I want 2021 to look like – in my life and on this blog. But what I do know (and don’t know how to communicate well enough), is that something has to change. Something in our world, in our country, in our small towns, has to change. And I don’t know how to teach that. I don’t know how to write the right words that will impact those who need to hear them most. But I do know that it starts at home. It starts with us. It starts with keeping our cool, with learning how to talk back in a way that is respectable and fair, with finding our own tiny ways to treat others as we wish to be treated.

Simple + Good isn’t about things being easy. It’s about things feeling right. So, while 2021 doesn’t feel great in the present moment, we can still hold onto hope. We can still be the person who doesn’t tailgate the car in front of us. We can still offer small moments of beauty to one another. We can still make this year the year it was meant to be.

And I guess that’s what I’m going to try and do.