13

I’m Tired.

I’m 73 and had been a widow for just a year and a half when the pandemic further upended everything. I’ve lived the life of a hermit (although a hermit with curbside grocery pickup) for the last 6+ months.

The intertoobs have been great for maintaining some semblance of human contact, but the flip side is I’m constantly exposed to the rantings of the sweaty, orange-faced current occupant of what used to be The People’s House and the complicity of what used to be the Republican party, which now resembles a cult of personality.

In the year leading up to the 2016 election, I was equally glued to the computer screen and angsted about every little fluctuation in Hillary’s poll numbers, etc. My husband warned me not to get consumed by it all because “What can you do about it? You can cast your vote and the rest is out of your hands.” He was right. As we all know, the unthinkable happened and there went a year of my life down the crapper.

If there’s one thing I hope I’ve learned from this time of reflection following the death of my husband and my self-imposed withdrawal from what used to be polite society it’s what I found on a small bumper sticker in my husband’s desk drawer: “Life is too short to argue with stupid people.”

I’m convinced Trump will win the election by hook or by crook. We already know about the voter suppression and the shenanigans at the USPS. I hope I’m wrong, but as Trump himself says, it is what it is. If the people of this country choose him again as our president, then I guess we deserve the president we get. Nothing I can do about that.

So, I’m backing off from my avid following of politics. I don’t want to spend whatever amount of time I have left on this planet in a constant state of outrage and despair. I’m only one vote, which I will gladly cast and hope it counts.

But I’m tired.

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5

My New Goal: Ataraxia

I get the Word of the Day in my inbox every day and if this one isn’t emblematic of what I desperately need right now, I don’t know what is.

Ataraxia “impassiveness, calmness” is best known from and associated with the ethics of the Athenian philosopher Epicurus (341–270 b.c.). It is acquired by shunning politics and obnoxious people, by paying no attention to the gods or an afterlife, and by devoting oneself to trustworthy friends and a simple life.  Ataraxia was important to the Stoic philosophers, also, but for them the final goal was apatheia, which means not “apathy” in the modern sense but “calmness,” imperturbability gained from the pursuit of virtue. Ataraxia (spelled atarxie) entered English in the early 17th century.

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