The death of Chicago is my awakening
A recap of my trip to Chicago and an important lesson
Mass formation psychosis needs a mass
I have written about how to handle vaccine conversations. It turns out it’s much easier to write about them than it is to actually have them.
I’ve just returned from my yearly holiday visit to Chicago. That’s my hometown. My wife’s too. It might as well be Mars it feels so foreign these days. Before departing for Chicago, I tried to prepare myself for the difference in world view I might experience, but I wasn’t able to. Chicago is completely broken. Let me explain why.
I have a neighbor family in Virginia with a couple of boys around the age of my little girls. They ride the school bus together and they play a lot. The parents are really nice people, but they are very much committed to the Covid narrative and the official Science. However, they are the exception in our neighborhood. And because they are the exception, they are nice. They invite us over to their home for dinner. They are apologetic when they talk about their Covid fears and their precautions. They ask us for our opinions and engage in light conversation. They are outnumbered.
After witnessing life in Blue America, I am confident they would act differently if they were in NOVA, Chicago, NYC, SFC, etc.
Now you might say, but David, maybe they are just nice people and no matter where they lived they would act like that. Maybe. But let’s compare what happens in Chicago with friends and family members I have known nearly my whole life.
In Chicago, it’s OK to demand that all family members, including children, be vaccinated in order to attend the family Christmas party. It’s OK to be furious at your family members, as young as six years old, not being vaccinated. That’s right. In the year 2021, roughly 60% of our extended family declined invitations to our family Christmas parties. Many of them expressed outright anger in finding out that I am not vaccinated nor is my “vaccine-eligible” six year old. Most had declined by mid December so it wasn’t even based on Omicron (mild cold) fears.
In Chicago, it’s OK to ask New Year’s Eve party-goers if they are vaccinated and, if they are not, accuse them of spreading disease and putting everyone’s children at risk. That’s right. I had to get up and walk out of a New Year's Eve party hosted by the best man at my wedding. I didn’t mind the questioning at first but it turned ugly and became “what about my kids, David?! You don’t care about them, do you?” This all became too much. At that moment, I realized I was speaking with people that have developed mental illness. They didn’t need me. They needed a psychiatrist (or they just need a few cold showers and meditation/prayer, but that’s for another blog). It was time to move on.
I know this. You take these Chicago families and individually pluck them out and drop them into my Virginia neighborhood, and as Covid crazy as they might be, they have us over for dinner and apologize for all their silly precautions. They would be outnumbered and if they wanted any social life for themselves or their kids, they’d keep it in check. Likewise, if you take my Virginia neighbors, as nice as they are, and drop them in Chicago, well… look out crazy town. One of us! One of us! One of us!
Mass formation psychosis needs a mass.
Be who you want to be
That New Year’s Eve experience weighed on me quite heavily. I was sad, very sad. Three people that stood up in my wedding have a much smaller role in my life now, if any role at all. I spent the better part of the next two days trying to figure out how to make the world right again. I’m sure you’ve been in a similar situation, where people close to you are irrevocably separated from your life. The mind works overtime to solve the problem. How can I fix this? How can I make them see? Can I adjust and find middle ground? Did I make a mistake? What if I tried this or that? And on and on it goes.
I thought about the old saying that the best revenge is a good life. But I don’t want to live a good life just to get revenge. That avenue seems meaningless and pathetic to me. But that did spark something else inside me, something that was asking, what do I want my life to be?
Now that’s a funny question to ask in some ways. I’m accomplished in my field. I have a wonderful marriage and three great little girls. My days are interesting and fun. We have our health, our minds, and our happiness. I’m already living a good life.
Then it hit me like a great, shining white light.
There is no problem to solve. I am who I want to be.
And with that, the worried voice stopped.
Yes, it sucks what happened. But it’s not happening to me now, in this moment. They aren’t here right now, yelling at me and accusing me of murder. That moment is gone. You may say, but David you can’t easily dump three decades of friendship. I’m not going to dump any friendships. That would be an attempt to solve the problem. I’m just going to keep being who I want to be. Those friendships may heal or they may not.
Stop trying to the solve the problem and be who you want to be.
Who do I want to be? I want to be the joyful witness of the wonderful challenges of family, friends, work, and hobbies. I want to be less of the distractions of trying solve my ego’s problems, indulging in the non-joyful experiences that take away from who I want to be. And this would be true no matter how the party on New Year’s Eve had gone. There is no problem there to solve.
That is my path forward. When I contemplate my existence and ask, who am I? The answer should be, I am who I want to be.