I joined the Cortland County Democratic Committee because I was tired of being a “feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making [me] happy.” Some of you may be thinking, “Jeez George Bernard Shaw don’t you think that’s a little harsh?” But it’s actually spot on for how I was behaving at the beginning of this pandemic.
Instead of doing something productive, like going through my closets and throwing out the junk that accumulated over the years, I spent my free time debating social issues with relatives on Facebook. Instead of looking up new recipes on Pinterest to try out on the family, I reposted humorous memes about there being no toilet paper. Instead of taking up a new hobby like yoga, meditation, photography, scrapbooking, knitting, I spent my nights creeping on ex-boyfriends on social media. I was bored out of my mind and filled with self-righteousness and self-pity.
Even when I thought I was doing good by taking family members to task about asserting that their right to bear arms shouldn’t be limited, I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. Look at me, I am educated. I am smart. I am right. My Facebook posts had comment after comment each comment snarkier and more heated than the last. My Facebook posts put CVS receipts to shame. I had to scroll down for a solid minute before I got to the most recent comment and for what? It did nothing, it changed nothing.
I wish I could tell you I had an enlightened moment that hit me like a title wave, but it wasn’t like that at all. I’m no Ram Dass. Gradually, I came to the realization that I was very unhappy and no fun to be around. I blamed the pandemic. I blamed the weather. I blamed my ignorant uncle on Facebook. A few months went by of me being completely and utterly miserable when, finally, I kind of snapped. I remember something on Facebook really peeved me off, but I can’t remember what exactly. I remember thinking something like, “I’ll show her, all she does is sit on her phone and vomit her opinions all over the place. I’m going to take it to the next level.” Believe me, the irony of this thought doesn’t escape me. On impulse I looked up the Cortland County Democratic Committee Facebook page and sent a message.
“Hey, how do I get more involved?”
“Thanks for reaching out, could we please have your contact information?”
Oh crap, they messaged back. I was not expecting a quick reply. I thought there was a good chance my inquiry would go unanswered. For a second, I thought about putting my phone down and walking away, but the rest of George Shaw’s quote popped into my head:
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature…”
I sent back my contact information and exhaled. I’m in this now.