I recently decided to not ‘sweat the small stuff’ (as the advice goes).
So, what do I mean by ‘the small stuff’? Well, I will stop worrying if every tile on the kitchen floor is not immaculately clean. Who cares? I will not worry if the doona on the bed is crooked…really, did I ever fret about that? I will not sigh in the morning when my newly shampooed hair looks like a rat has chewed it in the night. I will not be upset if the dog smells like a dog. I will not worry if I have pruned a shrub unevenly and I will not worry if I mistakenly wear my oldest shoes out shopping. (They are comfortable, and I didn’t notice)
These are but a few small things I will not sweat over.
But…how to not sweat the BIG stuff? That’s the problem.
Most of the ‘small’ stuff I can change - or have control over. Not so with the BIG stuff.
Take for example:
The growing lack of equality in our country - and around the globe. Where is the equity, or the fairness, giving everyone the ability to receive what should be theirs? The gap between rich and poor is expanding massively, with governments (worshipfully & generously) giving to the well-off, while demonising the ‘battler’.
According to the ABC, Australia's richest increased their wealth in 2019, by more than 20 per cent, which seems to be ongoing. There has been a staggering 53-fold increase in wealth for the top 200 in just 35 years.
(Back in 1984, Australia's 200 richest people had a combined wealth of $6.4 billion. By 2019, they had a combined wealth of $342 billion).
But. the poorest 40 per cent of households, remain stuck with just 2.8 per cent of the nation's wealth between them.
The irony at this time of COVID-19, is that it is the poorly paid workers to whom we turn to keep us safe and keep the wheels of what’s left functioning: they clean the buildings, they care for the nursing home residents and the disabled, they mind the children. They unload the goods and stock the supermarket shelves, while the well-off isolate themselves in their comfortable homes.
There is little recognition given to those good and worthy workers.
The obscene worship of money, encouraged by today’s politicians is creeping into individuals’ lives - generating admiration for, not good work, but wealth. Any form of equity and (I might even say) decency, seems to have vanished.
There is nothing I can do about this. So why should I ‘sweat’ about it?
Another big thing I ‘sweat’ about is the plight of our (our?) asylum seekers.
What changed us from being welcoming to those souls who seek asylum…notice the words, ‘seek asylum’…not seeking to do something illegal or to scare us, but merely to seek asylum.
It has been said that no one would get in a leaky boat and set off for unknown distant shores if they didn’t think the water was safer than the land they had left.
What made us change? What made us – the people who welcomed refugees from Vietnam with open arms and helped them settle here in safety (and others before them) - What has made us harden our hearts in such a terrible way?
Has this cruelty come about simply because we’ve been educated to be afraid of strangers?
I can sign every petition offered to me, I can verbally express my concerns, but nothing will change the opinions of those who firmly believe the lies pushed by certain forces.
There are so many other BIG things that I ‘sweat’ about:
Australia’s unemployment hitting 20%, due to the havoc wreaked by coronavirus, is one.
Trump’s America is a very BIG one! What can we do about that catastrophe? Bugger all, I think.
The pandemic’s toll in U.K. is of huge concern to me. I can do nothing about this either, apart from encouraging my loved ones who live there to continue their watchfulness and care.
But the biggest BIG worry of all is Climate Change.
It is ‘as plain as the nose on your face’ that Global Warming caused by human activity, such as burning of fossil fuels, is a HUGE worry for all. Yet, the ‘worship-of-money’ thing rears its ugly head constantly as politicians reject science and follow the money-men as they deal irresponsibly, lying, pushing, shoving and DONATING big amounts gained by exploiting the ground we rely on for survival.
The Australian Museum & other responsible organisations tell us that ‘Humans have the solutions, skills and capacity to address what is needed to help our ailing earth’
Meanwhile, as just a small current example, Queensland farmers are continuously trying to protect their land and water from the destructive forces that push for coal and gas exploration at any price.
It’s a never-ending battle.
Where is the hope? Where are the positives?
There are many, many more things that worry me (and others) and I could fill pages with the horrors of such subjects as black deaths in custody, domestic violence, the neglect of small children, the mistreatment of the homeless and on and on….
But, while we worry (rightfully) about this awful pandemic and I personally have given up ‘sweating the small stuff’, the BIG stuff remains.
Sadly, there are many who never give a thought to these big issues. But perhaps they are the lucky ones.
Television ‘life-style’ shows, celebrity gossip, sports, Foxtel, Netflix and shopping provide escapes for those who don’t care. A few somewhat mindless pursuits provide them with all they need for something to think about.
I feel helpless but am I also feeling hopeless?
We must have some hope.
Meanwhile, I’ll stop ‘sweating the small stuff’ and see if that helps.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.