Jeff Ruane

Distraction and Despair

Shit's tough right now

It's natural to feel helpless and desperate. Our genocidal president is senile and unwilling to admit that he's the worst candidate in modern American history and that he's the preferable candidate. I fear even more cruelty towards Palestinians and South and Central American migrants from the other guy, and his people have all sorts of different plans as well.

In my personal life, I've been job hunting for three months, and my savings are wearing thin. Unemployment helps but only covers some things1. Despite several interviews the week before last, I have yet to have any promising prospects so far. I'm starting to think about gig work or a career change if things get really dire. I haven't given up, I'm still reaching out to folks and potential employers, but damn if it doesn't get just a little bit harder each time it doesn't go my way.

Medford, Oregon hit 113° today, while Death Valley, CA hit 128°. Hurricane Beryl could become the earliest category 5 hurricane in history.

My life, however, is relatively comfortable

I'm sitting here on a pleasant Sunday afternoon watching Emma Navarro and Coco Gauff duke it out in the fourth round of Wimbledon2. I went to the Colorado Rockies fireworks game the other night. It was spectacular, and to top it off, the Rockies managed to win against a good team3. I've been taking tons of photos recently: driving around the mountains, walking around the city, exploring industrial areas at night. It's been delightful. It took a little longer than I expected to regain the passion for photography I had as a younger man, but it's roaring back. I've been trying to blog more, too. It feels good to get back into a writing habit like I used to.

Fireworks at Coors Field after a Colorado Rockies game.
I don't even like fireworks, but bravo!

Delaying the despair

It's become clear that I'm grasping at every possible distraction to avoid thinking about the state of my country and the world. On one hand, I could make an argument that it's logical. What the fuck am I supposed to do about rapidly rising ocean temperatures and sociopathic billionaires? Why not watch some tennis?

Then I remember how it felt to be blindsided, unprepared, and shook in 2016. I remember the helplessness I felt seeing folks unable to escape the flood waters in Katrina almost 20 years ago. I remember the horror of seeing children's bodies charred by bombs and our leaders applauding and signing the bombs. The hopelessness of seeing cops beat and arrest protestors who literally just didn't want to see more children needlessly die violent deaths, and the shock at universities denying diplomas for these students.

Distractions aren't bad. Hobbies are good. We should watch tennis! Using every waking moment to obsess over the world's ills is not sustainable. It's not helpful to post endlessly on Mastodon about Project 2025 to the same people who already know every detail of it. Burnout is real in every aspect of life.

However, distractions need to be balanced with preparedness and organization. Remember how there's not a fucking thing I can do about a sociopathic billionaire? Well, there's something we can do about it. Fellow Americans let go of some of the insistence on individualism in all aspects of life. These times demand collective action.

Becoming more resilient to the despair

So what can we do? A few things:

Smarter people than me can think of more effective uses of our time. But please, for all our sakes, don't allow yourself to be blindsided again. Take action and bring people together. Don't fool yourself into thinking you're prepared by reading every horrific news story that crosses your feed. Organize.

Thanks for reading. Love you all. And never forget, our Serbian big boi will always have our back.

  1. The income from unemployment is too high for my wife and me to qualify for Medicaid. If we were to get a plan on the marketplace, it would be more than the UI income. Everything is broken.

  2. If you have yet to watch Coco Gauff play, do yourself a favor and catch a match. She's a rigorously controlled fountain of chaos and so much fun to watch. Seriously, watch her make the US Open finals last year.

  3. We only needed one stolen home run to do it, too!

#mental health #personal #politics