Just Do The Next Right Thing


I don’t know about you, but November 9th was one of the worst days of my life. (And in the past two years, I’ve lost three close friends, all unexpectedly and WAY ahead of their time, and the 21 year old cat who kept me sane in graduate school and had been my boon companion for my entire adulthood, so I know from bad.)

I got a taste of what real depression is like, and it was horrible. I literally could not get out of bed. I laid there in the dark and cried off and on all day. My spouse periodically came in to bring me food I didn’t eat and beverages I didn’t drink. It felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest and a vise crushing my head. It was miserable. I was miserable.

Aries that I am, though, on Thursday morning, November 10, I woke up and said to myself: “Self, that is enough wallowing. It’s time to do something.”

But what?

There’s this thing called the Paradox of Choice, when you’re faced with so many options you become paralyzed, incapable of choosing anything.

That’s how I felt. The problem of trying to stop a dangerously unstable, profoundly unqualified, proudly ignorant demagogue from ruining the country is so big – and so important – with so many potential angles of attack that I had no idea where to start.

That’s when I remembered what a very wise friend told me a number of years ago, and in a wildly different context: “You don’t have to know the end of the path. Just do the next right thing.”

OK, I may not, as of 9:17 am on Thursday, November 10, have known the full and exact most effective plan to #ResistTrump, but I could think of one good thing to do: donate some money to renew my membership in the ACLU. I could think of one more good thing to do: sign up to be notified about local training to run for office with Emily’s List. I could think of one more good thing to do: sign up for my next few volunteer shifts at the local food bank (something I’ve been doing monthly for the past four years, which is definitely one of the perks of running your own business). I could make sure my financial house and papers are in order. I could call my Muslim friends and make sure they know where we hide the spare keys in case the shit comes down on them, because when it happens, it happens fast, and if you need to get the fuck out of Dodge, the WORST thing you can do is be where they expect you to be, like your home or office. I could take on my industry for their poor response to the election (yes, I really did that, and so far, it hasn’t ruined my career).

The past two months have been difficult for the MAJORITY of voters (+2.8 million) who voted for Hillary Clinton, and this is just the warm up. Barack Obama is still in the White House, at least for a few more days. #TheResistance is only going to get more difficult from here. And I’m not always going to know the path – neither are you. But you can take the next step. You can do the next right thing in front of you. And so can I. And all those steps will eventually add up to the marathon we’ll all be running in the coming months and years.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1


5 responses to “Just Do The Next Right Thing

  1. I love this. It’s freeing to know that we don’t have to see the entire course. We can just take the next step.

  2. I don’t know if it will come to an Underground Railroad … but you have my email address.

  3. It’s the only way I know out of depression, or the paralyzing helplessness that feels like depression. It’s also the only way I know to keep writing: do something every day.

  4. If you’re looking for some ideas for next right things, I can highly recommend this list: http://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/01/14/10-acts-of-resistance-on-inauguration-day/

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