What a year. We all made the best of the continuing pandemic by responsibly masking, vaccinating, limiting social interactions, quarantining when appropriate, and, above all, respecting airline flight attendants. Ha.
But at least for now the Omicron variant is symptomatically weaker than Delta and mostly benign for the boosted, and the US Army is currently conducting human trials on a promising new vaccine that has shown efficacy against every major strain of COVID.
We had a brief glimmer of enthusiasm for a Hot Vax Summer like a mini Jazz Age, and actually experienced a couple weeks of it. A month following my double-vaxxed certification, at peak antibody performance, I spent a few April days risking looking like a Republican in public and going into stores sans mask. I even took a road trip to New Orleans and Destin to celebrate life back to normal!
I felt free again, and not the fake freedom of libertarian medical idiots with childish delusions of selfishly solpsistic freedom. I felt the magnificent freedom of living my best life back out in public knowing I had followed all the healthcare guidelines to protect my community and to ensure I was as little contagious to others as pharmacologically possible. But, unfortunately, you know the rest of the Delta strain story.
So, following these dumpster fire years of 2020 and 2021, let’s spend the first half of 2022 preparing spiritually and hopefully for a socially productive second half of 2022! We may finally get that Hot Vax Summer we were hoping for last year, or a Chill Vax Autumn.
Why not use this prolonging of restrained extroversion to reflect on some positive introversion, and strive to be a better person to our family, friends, city, country, culture and planet?
Here are a number of ways to be a bit more mindful, productive and conscientious:
Listen more. Let people talk about themselves. It’s an easy way to make more friends because most people love to tell others all about their lives and aesthetic interests, and the subsequent serotonin rush from self-mythologizing makes them remember you fondly. Besides, everyone has something they can teach you if you only pay attention. Soak in other people’s passions, extemporaneous facts, and rosy-tinted nostalgia because zeal for life and learning is positively contagious.
Curate yourself in more meaningful ways and share positivity. The Internet’s global connectivity is a force for unprecedented mass democracy, so this year try to participate at a deeper commitment. We spend a lot of time curating transient aspects of our lives on social media, why not try to better direct our followers’ attention to more lasting or communal profundities? Instead of pictures of every cocktail and dessert you consume, what about trying to post daily one good cause, call to action, inspiring success, good deed, big idea, or local upcoming event? Maybe turn your social media mirror around to reflect not yourself but others, and share everything your friends do in their careers or arts to help them grow their successes, notoriety, and achieve their goals. It’s much more meaningful to be the first person to share your friends’ posts than the 10,000th person to share a celebrity’s post.
Start reading again. Read at least one book a month. Alternate between fiction and nonfiction, and throw in some biographies of historical figures who inspire you. Reading develops general knowledge, vocabulary, trivia, empathy, caring and intellectual curiosity, so don’t be one of the 33% of Americans who don’t read any books past high school. They’re mentally stagnating! Read in the bathroom, before you go to bed, waiting in line, whatever it takes! John Waters once said to never sleep with someone who doesn’t have books and doesn’t read… don’t let that be you who gets romantically spurned.
Don’t talk, do. If you’re talking to people about your goals or dreams, you’re not actually doing them. It’s an existential reality that if you’re not doing it right now, you don’t want it bad enough. Imagine if instead of telling everyone ahead of time that you intend to lose weight, you just post a picture of yourself online that makes people say “Holy shit, you lost a lot of weight.” Do that with all of your goals. Be the kind of person who surprises others with determination and perseverance, not the person always making promises everyone knows you won’t and can’t keep.
Remember that anything worth doing completely is also worthwhile doing a little bit. Brushing your teeth for twenty seconds is better than not at all. Ten pushups a day is better than none. Straightening up your house makes you feel better even if you’re not deep-cleaning. Only eating fast food when you’re drunk is better than also eating it sober. Writing one paragraph of that book you want to write gets you a bit further along. Donating $5 to a good charity still helps the world. Little things add up, so start adding.
Eat healthier. Food is not supposed to make you feel bad, physically or mentally. Your body should be able to handle digesting and being conscious at the same time. Cut out impulsive sugar, and cook more for yourself. Baking a sheet full of cut up vegetables for 15 minutes is fast, easy, healthy and cheap. Meanwhile, the bacteria in your digestive system don’t take long at all to begin craving the new foods you choose to start eating more. Phase out soda and replace it with water, and pretty soon you won’t have any desire for it at all. Choose chicken over beef or pork occasionally. Use less butter on your toast today than yesterday. Buy foods without months-long shelf-lives. Replace one snack food with carrots or raw broccoli. Make 2022 the year you break the bad eating habits that are slowly killing you right now.
Follow news from many sources. Various people and political groups want you to believe inaccurate, erroneous, and sometimes even terrible things. If something is surprising you or alleged to be conspiratorial, look it up. Before you post or share, fact-check yourself. Ignorance of context is blissfully unchallenging, so don’t be a dupe and share purposefully malevolent, erroneous information. And stop believing every sordid claim you see in a Youtube video or blog post from a website called “PatriotEagleRifle.com.” If in ten minutes a video titled in caps lock with a trio of exclamation points ties together the Rothschilds, 9/11, the gold standard, George Soros, the reptilian elite, the Crusades, Middle Eastern dictators, the Illuminati, vaccines, climate change scientists, Bill Gates, and Dr. Fauci into an impossibly powerful and omnipotent global conspiracy of a New World Order super elite perennially threatening to take tyrannical control despite never quite actually doing it, congratulations: you didn’t receive enough information about any one of the subjects individually to be adequately informed about the proposed gestalt. Look stuff up and learn real history, and follow current events from legitimate, mainstream sources. Despite all the insults against mainstream establishment news sources, the plethora of self-described “independent” commentators, opinionators and pundits still base all their hot takes and anti-establishment self-aggrandizement on the global reporting and professionally edited journalism only legacy institutions like The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN still pay for and pursue. Meanwhile, remember that surrealist governmental paranoia tends to come accompanied by democratic apathy and electoral inactivity, which ironically assists the possibility of an actual elite reptilian oligarchy taking over. Unlock and escape from your various echo chambers.
Fight hate and fascism wherever you come upon it. Stick up for the oppressed wherever sexism, racism, homophobia, islamophobia or any other divisive, unAmerican social phobia bubbles up to the surface in your daily life. If someone is getting racist in line at the grocery store or on the subway, tell them to shut the f*** up. Especially if you’re a cis, able-bodied, straight white male who doesn’t ever get bothered with casual bigotry. We all are responsible for helping anyone being discriminated against or bullied.
Don’t be a herb. Follow a principle or two, and try to be altruistic occasionally. Be the best, self-actualized person you can be. Improve yourself daily. Learn to love yourself so you don’t have to get your kicks making other people feel bad to distract yourself from your own shortcomings. This year work hard not to be: pedantic, hyperbolic, casually dishonest, a downer, a moocher, a copycat, a fundamentalist, a rapist, a hater, a bad tipper, a lazy parent, an irresponsible dog owner, a litterer, or a thief at house parties. Give money to street musicians. Stop sending unsolicited dick pics. Make people feel happy in 2022, not antagonized or insecure.
Start thinking that everything you’re experiencing is the best ever. Manufactured positivity becomes authentic quickly, so go ahead and just start telling yourself that the apple you’re snacking on right now is the best apple you’ve ever had; the coffee you’re sipping is the best ever, the friends you’re having lunch with or going out with tonight are the best. Life is too short, rare, and unnecessary not to find momentary appreciation everywhere you can.
Poop when and where you have to poop. Not sure who needs to hear this, but life is much too short to keep yourself uncomfortable holding in bowel movements for hours because you’re embarrassed that people might think you’re doing what naturally happens after you eat food and digest it. Everyone does it, so stop pretending that your body is a magical excretory outlier. If you take a few minutes in the bathroom no one will care, and if they want to think gutter thoughts about your bathroom occupancy, that’s their problem, not yours. If you gotta go, go.
Have a great 2022, everyone!
Check out some of my past year’s top publishings!
Have a great 2022, and thanks for your eyeball attention!
Follow The Halfway Post, America’s #1 source of satirical news, on Twitter here, Facebook here, Tumblr here, or Instagram here for more liberal comedy, political humor and satire! Also, check out our podcast Brain Milk here and subscribe to our Substack newsletter The Halfway Café here.