Life in progress

How to Live When You Want to Save the World


I’m at a loss. The constant flood of news stories coming in through my Facebook feed about discrimination, hate, fear, war and people fleeing from it, protests that go nowhere, threats to freedom and civil liberties–the list goes on and on–are keeping me from living my own life. It distracts me from all the things I should be doing for myself and my family. I’m not functioning because I’m worried, both about my own future, my kids’ future, and that of the ones I can’t help.

Yes, I can hear it already. Poor me, sitting on my privileged white heterosexual ass in a nice warm house, wringing my hands but doing nothing. It’s true. I don’t feel as though I do enough, yet what can I do when I’m shut in my house up here in Canada? I want to help. I want that more than anything. It’s why I’m so obsessed with what’s going on. So far I’ve shared, I’ve given my opinions and I’ve tried to make sense of what’s going on. I’ve tried to help others put it in perspective. To encourage them to do what they can. I write because my words are the best weapon I have. I give consolation when I’m able, but to what effect? It all inevitably falls flat because I am not living it.

On the contrary, I’m not looking to be absolved for having a good life and I don’t want anyone to tell me it’s okay, that I can just go on with my life and not think about what’s going on in the world. I know I need to look after myself. I’m just not sure how to go about it.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’m sure there are others out there who live with this worry, and this survivor’s guilt and sense of helplessness. How do you cope when there’s nothing you can physically do? How do you separate yourself from it all, to do what you must to live your own life? We don’t help anyone, least of all ourselves, when all we do is sit at home and read the reports and wring our hands.

I fear this is the way it will be for the rest of my life. I can’t save the world, and I certainly can’t shut it off and ignore it. Perhaps I need to take a break from it though. At least long enough to care for my own family.

But I’ll never stop asking why peace is too much to ask for.

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

46 thoughts on “How to Live When You Want to Save the World

  1. One of the reasons why I choose not to engage in social media (aside from WordPress) is in part due to the sensationalism and skewed perspective it tends to perpetuate.

    At the end of the day you can control how you act, how you treat others and what positive impacts you can make in you own way.

    It starts with one. No one can ask you of any more.


  2. You are surely not alone. Many of us are hard-wired with the kind of sensitivity that makes all of this so painful. Step away from it all…stop reading the hateful words, turn off the TV, limit access to social media. Just get in touch with what matters…family, friends, love. You will return with a new perspective. Wishing you the peace we all desire. ☺


  3. Linda, I’m not here to absolve you, but I feel the need to point something(s) out. You take care of people who have special needs. You inspire and encourage a community to share their thoughts. You respond to those thoughts with kindness, understanding and respect.

    If everyone did ONE of those things, this world would be a far better place. Don’t stress this one, it’s not on you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re not alone in your feelings. We have to remain strong and stay united for peace.


  5. I am very concerned about the violence that has followed the election. I live within a short drive of Ferguson, MO, and I know people who lost property during the riots there. In response to Clinton losing the election Clinton supporters have rioted, blocked traffic, burned houses and businesses, and attacked innocents that they suspect may have voted for the opposition. There are Clinton supporters openly advocating mass murder and overthrowing the government by force. I’m not sure what I can do about it, except try to protect myself and my family.


    • I was expecting civil war to break out if Clinton won – I wasn’t expecting it the other way around. But then again, I wasn’t expecting Trump to win.
      It’s a scary situation to be sure. Take care, Misha.


  6. Tormented with the half news, the consuming of the cherry on top of the cake but left only guessing what the cake tastes like. A neighbour shows me photos in an album of celebratory cakes, she learned sugar craft and perfected her skill. People give her a cake and she makes winged creatures, soft petalled flowers in fine gauzy icing like glass. A few days intracate work and the cake will appear as the bride or birthday girl dreamed, all executed with memory and by hand. But she doesn’t bake or particulary like food or cooking her sponge tastes like dust and fruit cake solid and hard.
    What I mean is… the media can take out of context any piece and promote it’s beauty or with a twisted diatribe show only that side. It could extol the virtues of how beautiful a job she had done and show time lapse film and commentry, or cut that damned evil cake full of putrid waste maggots and poison, what a terrible thing etc…
    I want both sides, the whole story, upside, downside, inside, outside. Ì want truth. Until we have one channel, paper, website we can trust to deliver the “whole” we never ever can make informed decisions. But we can begin by not tollerating biased, hurtful speech , actions or behaviors in our homes or from our families. Little steps spread like ripples on water. You Linda speak like many of us feel, thank you for a balsy post from a balsy lady. πŸ˜‡


    • Thank you, Ellen. πŸ™‚
      I know it’s hard to get all the news, but some is certainly solid enough to believe.
      Thing is, I’m lucky enough to live in a place where there is peace as far as my eyes can see. And I don’t get out much. Therefore, the majority of the fight that I see in front of me is online. My only choices are to do what I can to combat the injustices here or get off. …or stay here on my blog, which is another seemingly safe place.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Read my 3 day quote challenge day 2, see if that helps any?


  8. It’s not okay,and you can’t just go on with your life and not think about what’s going on in the world. Peace requires work. Whether it’s world peace or inner peace, it requires us to do hard, uncomfortable heavy work. Discrimination, hate, fear, war and people fleeing from it, protests that go nowhere, threats to freedom and civil liberties… somehow, this is all normal now, and that’s not okay. A wise woman once told me that “we train people how to act around us by our actions. It takes time and effort to untrain them. Have patience with them and with you…you’ll get there”. Keep up your work, Linda. Keep writing. Keep talking. Keep encouraging…and the others will follow…


  9. I believe with this feeling of insignificance the “bad” guys win. Luther seems to have said even if the world would end he would plant an apple tree. Seemingly a senseless action but its a sign of hope. I believe your blog and your writing is one such sign of hope. It might not change the whole world but it changes people’s lives . Also the way you are there for your children is a sign of hope and with that you might change more than you are aware of. There have been many dark times in our history and coming from Germany I should know. But they end. Life is a cycle and dark and light is part of it. Nothing we can do about that besides living by our values, stay who we are as we are perfect as we are and to plant little apple trees everywhere with what we do πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You’re not alone. If one of us is not safe, none of us are safe. But people prefer to live in bubbles of self-delusion, often fueled by hate rhetoric.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We haven’t evolved enough, on a physiological scale, to handle this constant, global bombardment. Our brains and nervous systems still think we should be huddled into small groups on the savannah, where we are worried about lions. We really are not wired to hear about all the bad news, around each inch of the globe, all of the time.

    At some point we have to tune it out or lose ourselves. I don’t think that is selfish (unless self-preservation is selfish). It also doesn’t mean that we should be uninformed.

    I struggle with what you are writing about myself. I have during other great catastrophes in my lifetime: The San Francisco quake (when the Bay Bridge went down), 9/11, to name a few. I could not tear myself away. I literally became ill from it.

    I’m backing away from most social media, which is one reason I returned to my blog. Blogs, for the most part, are slower moving and easier to pick and choose for reading. As soon as you open Facebook you get IT right in your face. Boom.

    I find you get what you need (actually, way more than you need) if you just skim the headlines and read the few articles where you need more information. Reading everyone’s opinions? It’ll make you nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does, especially when so much “opinion” comes from news sources. All so hard to decipher.
      Thank you for sharing your experience, my dear. I’m finding I need to get away for the sake of my health as well. My body needs exercise.
      Be well. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. If I had anything to offer to the conversation, I would. Respect, love, give…mostly.


  13. The greatest contribution you can make to the world Linda is to be all things to the ones around you who need you the most. We’d all like to be superman and change the world but if you are doijg all you can to make your little bit as perfect as you can make it then you are contributing because you are fostering happy and content people who are loved in turn they will treat others in a similar way.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yeah. Great write dearest. Truly surmises the current mood of many.
    I have no view easily placed in a comment, but I shall try, for you and your heart only.
    I think my entire blog is about this.
    Acceptance of humanities flaws is sometimes the best option. Simply as it allows us to live, and be focused in that. In doing so, we are far more likely to positively impact the world with our words and actions.
    All be it but one, and if lucky, two or three lives we touch.
    Its that ripple effect, we just got to believe that our good vibes/intentions, and smallest actions, where and how we may and can, will expound exponentially into the world.
    Be at peace dear one, and rest easy…rest.
    You are enough.
    Anyway, the world is decaying just as it has since it began.. nothing we do will stop that. Change is not what we must fear. It is loss of our value and joy that destroys our existance as communities, so that is what we must not allow to be stolen. The world keeps changing, always will.
    It is written in the wind of time.
    Live joyfully, bring joy. When opportunity arises, step forward.
    Just remember, we dont always see the fruits of our labour.
    Not everyone is in a position to be enabled to be accredited with the knowledge both personally or within acknowledgement by peers to have substantial proof that their existance impacted our world for the better.
    Some of us just have to trust, we are enough of what we must be, for our time here.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, my dear. I do understand and believe that our actions move out and away from us in ripples we’ll never comprehend. It’s my fatal flaw never to feel like I’m enough! That I’m doing enough. But you know that about me.
      And it’s so very exhausting to be me. Haha. πŸ™‚
      You’re right, acceptance is the key. Change what we can, accept the rest. I will try. πŸ™‚


  15. I used to keep a notebook titled, “How to Save the World”, where I write down issues-of-humanity on Earth and potential solutions. It’s not a practical thing, but emotionally it feels better than just wringing the hands or posting on social media when drawn in (though I’m guilty of both in the past).

    Personally, I don’t care for the sensationalism, hype, and blatant biases that corrupt the current state of journalism/news. For this reason, I avoid news articles and the ones I do read, I take with a massive dose of salt. Instead, I do everything I can to curate what crosses over my eyes and demands my time/energy (I deleted Facebook for this very reason).

    I like to focus on reading actual, direct research coming out about specific issues that are important to me… though while doing this, it’s important to be aware of what places are publishing the research and what money is behind the study (who funded it). Following the chain of information-and-money supply can lend awareness of bias about why that information is being reported/shared and what could be influencing the way actual findings are presented.

    But this way, I’m closer to being directly informed and allowed to think about findings and conclusions on my own instead of relying on a regurgitated grapevine of information that churns out underlying statements of what is “acceptable” to think about this or that and provokes arguments between opposing “approved” standpoints.

    I have a rule of thumb for when I do read news articles that if there is a certain perspective being pushed, to instead consider the opposing perspective and then try to figure out a different perspective that is tertiary to the polar duality framework. Just as a mental exercise, really, because with how the journalism industry has evolved in the past decade, I prefer to avoid news articles in the first place – but sometimes a few leak through or I want to read about public figures some.

    If the issue is something that doesn’t have or rely on studies (like quotes from public figures), then I cross-reference like crazy. It’s amazing how many news outlets feel completely comfortable with taking sound-bytes out of context to create an entirely different narrative than where the quote actually came from or to use completely biased people for their quotes to support an already established position. It’s important to know who the people are behind the quote, not from what the article/outlet tells you about them, but actually researching what they’ve put into the world so far and what ties they have.

    Combined, these approaches allow for when leaders and/or organizations propose ideas or discuss how to handle issues, I tend to already know where I stand on them and don’t feel as lost in the emotions of “just wanting to do /something/” – which can (and will) be taken advantage of by people who know how to manipulate those hyped-up emotions.

    And if all else fails, I take some time to listen to people who view life as a larger picture than daily milieu; like George Carlin, Alan Watts, etc. and allow them to reframe the perspective around humanity and this minuscule point in time. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s why, before the election, I tried as much as possible to listen to entire speeches, so I could draw my own conclusions and not depend on sound bites. And it’s rare for me to believe something outright, without doing my own research as well. I don’t, however, dig as deeply as you do, perhaps.
      What I do know is there’s far too much inequality in the world, far too much strife, and why? Because of a few personalities who believe the world revolves around them.
      Often, when I do decide to back up, I go to my teachings from the philosophy of Tao. Ah, how peaceful the world would be if its leaders followed the Tao Te Ching! (Yes, I love Watts, too. πŸ™‚ )
      Thank you for sharing, Dominika. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I avoided headlines/sound-bytes like the plague prior to the election because it increasingly became ridiculous in bias. It wasn’t even subtle, many networks (and even alternative media networks) crossed the line into propaganda. I couldn’t even watch Colbert or similar comedians anymore because the jokes were so one-sided and they weren’t funny, just kind of sad from my perspective on things.

        I never watched comedians like Jon Stewart for them to criticize “the other guy”, I watched for the satire on the entire political system itself – that includes everyone involved, even the comedians themselves. Recently, shows like that have just become platforms to push various agendas while being mildly entertaining instead of actual satire.

        Unfortunately, there’s always been far too much inequality and strife in the world since civilization began. Myself; I wouldn’t say a few personalities cause it, I would say that all humans are at the root of all our human issues because that’s what humanity is; the entire collection. In order for a few personalities to command power, other personalities allow for it to happen. That goes for the good and the bad because we live in societal hierarchies. It’s very complex though and there’s context for everything, it can be a tricky puzzle to put together and a few pieces tend to always be missing.

        What is interesting to me is that humanity is finally reaching a point where communication is the fastest and most widespread than ever before, thanks to the Internet (and the more freedom on the Net, the more that will be the case). Many of us would never have any idea of a lot about what happens in the world or our own countries if it wasn’t for what the Internet provides – a free space for individuals to share personal experiences and perspectives with others.

        I think I dig so deeply for a lot of reasons, I’ve always been drawn to research and statistics, but I was also a newspaper journalist in 2011 and spent a fair amount of time reporting on Occupy (I was in the field for protests). During that time, I witnessed a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that never made it into headlines and other stuff that was heavily misconstrued, so I took the habits I strengthened then further into my own life. Articles and news-reports never include the full story for the sake of word-count space, time, and biases. Most networks prefer to build a narrative/rhetoric and then find (or make) what fits into that established outlook to share with their specific readership.

        Hopefully you’ll be able to find good, lasting ways to moderate and balance what you’re involving your mind with and how to cope. These are just some of what works for me and my own mind, of course, and continually reminding myself of frameworks and the greater scope of humanity tends to help. Some things like Facebook… just have to be cut out like a tumor though. I believe the easiest and quickest solution is to just turn it all off and spend some time looking out at clouds or spending time with loved ones for a good long while until you forget why you had to take a break in the first place, then being very selective when reintroducing such things back into your life.

        Also, we’re writers!! If passive entertainment or thought doesn’t seem to be helping, write it out in a private journal. Let your compassion for the circumstances of humanity and the hope for a peaceful future direct and strengthen your work. To quote Orhan Pamuk; “For me, to be a writer is to acknowledge the secret wounds that we carry inside us, the wounds so secret that we ourselves are barely aware of them, and to patiently explore them, know them, illuminate them, to own these pains and wounds, and to make them a conscious part of our spirits and our writing.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh yes, a lot of what I’m feeling comes out in my writing. It’s really the only time I can be truly content – when I escape into the worlds of my fiction. Because even when I spend time with my family, I worry about what will happen.
          Thank you, Dominika, for sharing your experience as a journalist. It puts things into more perspective for me.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Peace is never too much to ask for, Linda, but the world has a long way to go in order to achieve it. Actually, it may never happen in every city, country or continent. But I believe that stirring up peace and respect and ethics is something we can all do individually. I’ve decided to keep doing what I’m doing…volunteering, helping strangers, being kind to everyone, etc. I have no control over what is going to happen in Washington D.C. the next four years, but I can try to do good in my own city and hope that others follow.


  17. Worry can only get you so far (spoiler alert: it isn’t very far at all). And I’ve wrestled with this a lot myself in the past two weeks.

    Where I come down is: I have a family. A full-time job. A list of things that need doing within my own little sphere of influence before I can think about “saving the world”. There are single people, and people whose jobs give their voices a little bit more bass, and others who, out of necessity or strength of feeling or whatever, feel the need to push “saving the world” toward the top of their list. I have to leave the hard work to them, and just lend my voice — and when I can manage it, a few of my dollars — to the cause when I can.

    But yeah. You have to pull back from the vortex at some point. (Of course, I keep doing exactly that, and it keeps pulling me back in.)


  18. Wonderful post, Linda. Like you, the current ugliness affecting the world (’cause it’s not just in the US) also has me anxious and in a tizzy. I’ve had to disengage from most things political. I muted many friends & family on FB because of their political posts. I’ve unfollowed many on Twitter to get away from it too. I’ve stopped watching news shows (even my beloved MSNBC). I just cannot listen to pundits normalizing this Trump presidency and bowing to his will. I do still listen to comedians – Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Seth Myers, Samantha Bee, Bill Maher and James Corden. I still keep up with Keith Olbermann at GQ on Youtube. And if I do want some news, I’m getting it from The Majority Report with Sam Seder, Democracy Now, Jimmy Dore, The Young Turks, The Humanist Report, Secular Talk, Thom Hartmann, and David Pakman (all on YouTube), but in limited amounts. I’m taking more time for me & family these days, writing, and reading.

    I think that’s what’s important. Balance, mindfulness and being present with family and friends. We can’t change the election, and we need time to heal from it. And then come the new year, we can pick what progressive causes we want to fight for during these next 4 years and become engaged in them in whatever ways we can.

    Rest, relax, and enjoy your kids right now, Linda. Some self-care is needed for the ensuing fight we face.

    Namaste, dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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