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Do Real Life

Here I am, looking out the window at my chickens, typing on my iPad (because my computer won’t stop crashing every few minutes), avoiding social media filled with the screaming atrocities from the virtual mouths of people who, for the most part, wouldn’t have the callousness required to say those things to the face of the ones they direct them toward.

Meanwhile, Spring has burst forth, here. The trees are blossoming, bees humming, birds swooping all over the place. The warm kiss of the golden sun blesses the skin of my babies’ sweet faces, all covered in dirt. What is this teaching me?

When utter nonsense spews, like foaming spittle from a brain-dead cow, out of the mouths of people I love or people whom I know are actual intelligent humans, I get so frustrated. I get so angry because I care about the growth of the individual and I recognize such growth as imperative to the health of our collective community. Social media and the polarizing, reactive, and petty existence of our virtual world highlights the desperate nature of our society — desperate for meaningful interaction and human connection. As modern people, we have bought in to the lie that spending our real life-source energy on virtual, intangible, false foundations is the same as spending it on actual creation and connection. And once we’ve spent it, it’s gone until we can recharge. Yet, how addictive is that beckoning call to log back in to the shiny, colorful place of scrolling and tailored experiences.

Real life is sometimes uncomfortable. Sometimes, it’s damn near unbearable. A tornado can’t be powered off. The heartbreak of a severed relationship can’t be muted. Those same bees humming in the dandelion patch will sting you if you step on them with bare feet. You can’t “ghost” the person speaking to you about something you disagree with when you’re standing right next to them. The nuances of any family’s struggle challenge every simple solution. And, sometimes tragedy strikes and no amount of Ctrl-Z will undo it.

However, when nature expends its creative energy, a horse gives birth, a bird sings its song, the flower blooms, and the rivers swell. It does what it is designed to do, to continue life. But we, as humans, have a choice. We get to choose where, how, and for what purpose we spend our creative energy. We can bring life, we can build, we can add to the beauty of everything. Instead, we bring life to an online avatar, build a meaningless number, and use the templates, styles, and ideas of someone we’ve never met.

What if we didn’t spend our energy there, on those things? What if we built a new form of travel? What if someone sculpted the next Veiled Virgin? What if we got to know our neighbor, asked them if they like to eat cookies, and then baked some to share? What would happen? More than what happens right now with screens plugged into our veins, I’ll tell you that much.

We might fail, we might fall, we might face rejection. Blimps exploded. The Sphinx’s nose crumbled off. Your neighbor might hate you and your cookies. Still, what can (and did) we learn from those experiences?

Look how far we’ve come. Look how capable we are. We were designed to exist in the real world, with our feet on the ground, our hands on the tangible, our eyes and souls locking onto another’s. To smell the sweet fragrances of spring and hear the voice of the person we’re speaking to. To take responsibility for ourselves as a being of nature and do our part in continuing life. Living life. Creating life.

Real life.

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