“I have a bad feeling about this.”

Han Solo

I’ve always had invisible alarm bells ringing in my head since I was a kid, though careful work reduced their influence over my daily life. The constant claxon call that something terrible was about to happen, that all is never as it seems, that something B-A-D is about to HAPPEN seemed debilitating, but it was also a great teacher.

I became a lot stronger. I learned how to be a lot nicer to people even when it felt like the world was exploding around me. I learned the excruciating art of controlling rage and fear and panic. I slowly learned better control of my tongue and, thanks to good teachers, how to keep stuff inside.

The 2016 election and rise of, well, Death Eaters is simply the best catch-all I can think of — it felt like it brought back a lot of alarms and doom that I had successfully tamped down (frankly it also EXPOSED a lot of rotten shit under the surface too, but that’s another matter). Anxiety and depression are bad enough on their own, but it’s a loaded comfort when the world actually starts falling apart like the alarms try to make you feel they are. And, ironically, the world that mocked you for “overreacting about nothing” before is now losing their minds while you continue to “hold it together” just as you have always done.

On paper, you could argue that 2020 was the most challenging year of my life to date (though prior years felt worse and prepared me to weather this one). Hell, I revised down my goals list until it simply contained one item, “stay alive.” And I came unsettlingly close a couple times to erasing even that line during the darker highlights (“darklights?”) of the year.

Well, this week, it feels as if a crushing weight has been lifted, both individually and collectively. It feels as if the carbonite is melting, and damn it, there’s A New Hope. It feels like the world might heal itself after all (without the whole nuclear holocaust bit). There are still Death Eaters of many types, but we (and they) learned that they are not nearly as numerous, popular, or powerful as they so wanted us to believe.

In a word, for the first time in a very long time, I’m thinking about the future again, a future that I actually want to be living inside. To steal a Tim Ferriss term, I’m dreamlining about what kind of person I’d like to grow into, what kind of life I’d like to have. What towns would be fun to live in? Are there paths back to school that don’t involve crushing predatory loans? Words like hope, enjoyment, pride, satisfaction, contentment, adventure, and more are starting to filter into my mind – there are happy colors and bits of sunlight filtering into the brainspace that was so recently dark, and red, and angry, and afraid. I know that I want to be on the planet in a year’s time, and that is HUGE.

The world isn’t “fixed,” I still have mental health challenges, the humans have created HUGE existential threats that remain unresolved, and there are no true savior figures (OF COURSE) — I’m grateful for the new POTUS, but Joe Biden is not a perfect and heroic Luke Skywalker that will sweep in and save ALL of us from EVERYTHING, FOREVER (and I honestly despise the Jedi in Star Wars nearly as much as I do the Sith); but things now have the potential of GETTING BETTER.

It’s not about politics or politicians per se, and it’s not even about just the USA or the human species alone. It feels like a massive energy shift, as if the collective unconscious and indeed the world itself was hell-bent on self-destruction… and then, against all odds, the system changed its mind and is having a go at healing itself.

I’ll still deal with fear and anger and so much else. We all will. As one of my favorite professors used to say, “It’s a fallen world.” People are still jackasses. Fuck it, I’m a jackass. Multiple crises still loom large.

But there is a chance to deal with them, the opportunity to grow personally and collectively, and a reminder to make our own little space in the world as bright and good as possible regardless of the jackasses. The future is uncertain, and doubtless full of more ups and downs – but the overall feeling of the progress of Consciousness, many millennia in the making, across many intermediary species is inescapable.

The carbonite is thawing.


Scene of LEGO toys: Boba Fett confronting Han Solo, who is frozen in carbonite.

Image Credit: Shutterstock (used under license).

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