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Day 241 - Congratulations! You Have Made It to the 3rd Level of Jumanji...

That is what life feels like for me right now. Like I am in some sort of weird ass video game that I didn’t really intend to play. Things keep trying to take me out and I keep running for my life and only have this one life left and several levels to go.

Seems like everything is such a struggle these days. But when I think about it, there are people right now living in this world whose lives are like some IRL Jumanji everyday. They wake up to have survived another night on the street and all its perils, they live in a place where warlords abound and every day is fraught with danger and death, they go to sleep at night knowing that horrible atrocities are all one can be completely sure about...this is a lot of places. This is reality for many parts of the world.

There are many causes for these life conditions. There are many people who live in fear. Who are hungry. Who are beaten, robbed, raped, murdered. Unfortunately, none of this is new.

However, for me, I am embarrassed to admit life has not been like that. I have lived a charmed life in the stark comparison. I have had my struggles and trauma for sure but those hardships were not life lasting and I was able to move on. And largely live free of violence and hatred.

But the pandemic addressed my privileged life in a way that I cannot now unsee. The bottom kind of fell out of all of our lives all at once and there was this grasping, settling and then, for me, this great hope that a world wide virus would wake us all up to finally and forever be able to see that though the immediate causes might be different, we suffer the same, we recover the same. A virus doesn’t care about how much money you have or don’t. A virus doesn’t care about the color of your skin. A virus doesn’t care if you have health insurance. In many ways, this pandemic had the power to show us all that when it comes to living, we are all fragile, delicate creatures who are not promised another day. None of us. Ever.

So perhaps with a great deal of naivety I hoped that we would all use this crisis as a way to go forward in solidarity. That we would begin to see humanness first and all the other shit second. That the virus would help us see that our priorities were out of whack. That we needed to do some soul searching, a slowing down of our rat race lives and we would see the truth of being human....

We are only here for a short while.

The game of life is not endless. Unlike a video game, you can’t just start over when you are out of juice. We just get this one precious, imperfect life to live. And to my way of thinking, we are wasting it. All of us.

We are forgetting what the players in Jumanji know, that to survive in our best form we must all work together. That we each have skills that are going to get called up in life’s endless challenges. We may not have what is needed in us, so we need to be able to rely on our fellow players to help us out. Instead it seems as though we are trying to beat the game by trying to go it solo. What the individual wants is more important than what is best for the greater good. To say I am heartbroken to see this garners the understatement of the year award...

So my life right now feels like I am stuck in this video game that I can’t get out of without your help. All of you. I need your skills and attributes and uniqueness to help me survive to the end. I see that my part is to stop judging you or allowing your Facebook posts to vex me and irritate me. I have to stop distancing myself from you in minor and major ways because my survival depends on our mutual ability to take care of each other.

I see it. I feel it. I am a bit despondent about it.

Because unlike the characters in Jumanji, we only get this one life. There are no second chances here. No special rules that are going to save our ass. No new players that are going to jump in at just the right moment to save the day. Nope, it is up to all of us who are already in the game, to play together until the end.

So I remain disheartened and afraid but willing. Willing to keep the door open to whatever crazy insanity comes next...spoiler alert, the locust are coming this summer so that should be fun. I have also heard that hurricane season is starting early so there is that...

I am keeping the door open my fellow beings because shutting it only keeps me locked inside. And if I can’t get out, I can’t or me or him or her. You are not the enemy. There are no enemies. We are all here to teach each other, help each other and love each other. When are we going to fucking see that?

I hope we all make it to the end of Jumanji. I hope our collective world is still standing. I hope our homes, loved ones and worlds are still in tact. I hope that we begin to see that what happens to one of us, happens to all of us whether we want to believe it or not. No one is free so long as one of us is in chains. Perhaps this is what the rioting is all about...another stubborn refusal by humans to see their fragile, most delicate condition...just one life, that is all.

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