You walk down the street and 3 homeless people ask you for spare change.
5 Street fundraisers ask you for a minute of your time, for dogs, for Syrian children, for homelessness, for water aid, for sport relief..
You go to the shop and they want you to put your change in a pot for the air ambulance, for the hospice, for kids in care.
Don’t take the plastic bag for your shopping because you’re destroying the planet.
You go to work where you’re not quite sure if you’re appreciated but you do your bit. You’re tired.
You’ve got ten emails. Save money on stuff you don’t really need. Sign a petition for free speech. Review me! Sign a petition to save a school. Sign a petition to get the government to debate the freedom of a bloke they mistreated. Bill. Bill. Bills. Save money on your bills. Another bill.
You get your bus/train ticket home. It’s got an advert for maccy ds on the back. You drive past adverts for private health care firms, for save the bees, for divorce lawyers, for insurance for your life, your house, your car, your phone, your pet.
You go on Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. You’ve see 100 posts in about 4 minutes. One is about someone who is, or someone who has a friend who is, ill, or depressed. Another has got cancer. One’s miscarried, or pregnant, or not pregnant. Someone says they’re being bullied, or they’ve lost their job, or lost their mum, dad, sibling, friend. Two are dealing with autism. Six with ADHD. Ten have got social anxiety. Twenty five are depressed. You know its really more than that. Ones got a bill they can’t pay. Oh, wait no, two. Four are running a marathon for charity. Eight want you to save the animals. Another wants you to save the children. Another wants you to go to a fundraiser. Donate. Time, money, friendship. Whatever you can. Thrree want to know why havent you called me? Is that for me? They didn’t call me? Where is everyone? Who’s coming over later? I miss my mum.
You’ve got 3 text messages. Lucky! Normally it’s none. One saying sorry I can’t meet up with you later, I’ve got something on. Oh. One saying hey let’s meet up later, I’ve got something to celebrate. Oh! One saying I can’t cope anymore, Ive got nowhere to turn. You reply to all three. No problem, yeah maybe, oh no what can I do? No one answers. Minutes. Hours. No replies.
You pay your bills. You share a petition. You check your bank balance. You can have a tenner for your homeless charity cause because 3 people asked me for change in the street today. You can’t have a tenner for your sponsored walk for the whales because I’ve run out of money now, but I’m thinking of you. Good luck. You can do it.
You’ve got a letter. You’ve got to go back to the doctors because your blood test was weird. Your eyes hurt, you need glasses. Your test came back negative. You have an exam next week. Your test came back positive. You’ve had a headache that won’t go away. You can’t sleep. You’ve got the flu. Your friend died. Your cat needs an operation. Your rent is overdue.
You feel like you need help. How do you ask for it? In a text? 3 texts, no reply. On twitter? Scrolled past it earlier. You make a petition? Signed! Shared! Now what? I need help. You do a bus advert? Who looks at them anyway. You ask someone in the street? Can I have a minute of your… Sorry, you’re in a rush. You tell your boss? “But two people are off sick with stress, we need you. Sad face. You’re important! See you in two weeks, I’m going on holiday!”. I’ll tell my friend. She’s had 3 texts, a letter, seen the adverts, had the emails, signed petitions today. She’s seen 100 posts in 4minutes. 500 ads today. You remember when you had a friend and it was nice to be together. He’s struggling with a broken arm. She’s had a bad day. She’s had a good day and you don’t want to be a burden.
You’re not a bee, or homeless. You don’t have cancer. You can go to the doctors. Maybe in a few weeks when they have an appointment, but you’ll probably feel better by then. Do you need help? Or can you get by, see what’s happening tomorrow? Maybe someone will be free for me tomorrow.
Tomorrow. Someone’s saving the oceans. Swimming for charity. Crying. Reading those emails. Writing those texts. Getting on that bus. Feeding that baby. Consoling a poorly friend. Lending money to someone with overdue rent. Eating their dinner. Having a day off. Exhausted because of their child, mum, other friend. Seeing another friend, one you don’t know.
Keeping your shit together in a world that asks you, no… IMPLORES you, to give a fuck about 500 things a day that aren’t yourself, it’s not a doddle, is it? Every day is a battlefield. Happy, healthy, fed, sad, hungry, drunk, clean for a month, loved, unloved, so so sad, sick. Content. Alone. Comfortable. Uncomfortable.
You can choose your battles. You can choose not to choose as well. It’s never the right choice anyway. Someone always wants more from you. The street fundraiser who made you feel bad for not helping the kids. The boss who wanted you to work late. The sibling who needed your advice but you didn’t have any. The text you didn’t respond to immediately.
Except, it’s always the right choice actually. In a dynamic, fast paced world, your choice is always the right choice. Consequences aren’t always the best. But then, new situation, bit like the old one but worse, or better. Time to make another choice.
More of the same tomorrow then. Who are you disappointing tomorrow? If the answer is yourself, get yourself off that list first and foremost.
Another day done. New decisions to make. Make choices. Every day.
Repeat until death.