How many times do you sit up, look around and just sigh?
You know what I mean, that “what on earth is going on?” kind of sigh. The sigh that has you on the verge of being convinced that the world has gone crazy?
It’s not just in the USA that things are not how we would like them to be. It’s a global phenomenon and it’s something no group of people can change. I say no group meaning politicians, companies or even sports teams as each of these groups merely glosses over the problems and provides a temporary reprieve from all the craziness. Everything we have today seems to be a temporary quick fix.
Perhaps the biggest “Sigh Moment” has been Ferguson and the shooting of Michael Brown. Saturday August 9th 2014 saw a turning point in society. With all the disputed circumstances around the tragedy the sighs of a nation turned into vented anger and these spilled over around the world. No matter what side of the fence you sit on, the fact is that Michael Brown has opened up a wounded nation and indeed a wounded world, the sighs have been building up since the move from nineteen something to twenty something, the non-teenage, young adult world is in its own coming of age story and it needs an older, experienced generation to help it grow and mature.
As an observer sat on the furthermost end of one of the poorest continents in the world, the anger of America has been seen and this same anger, when one really looks at the planet, is either raging or bubbling over in many places – Ukraine, Middle East, Africa, China. I look at this and I myself sigh. In my sigh, I asked, “who can change this?” And then asked, “how can I change this?” and then, “Can I change this?
The 50 Plus generation is the generation that can make the change and it needs to. The youth have little to look up to; morals of leaders have been tossed away as the focus is on saving economies and finding oil. Integrity is heading slowly towards the history books. Social problems and issues that the man on the street worries about are getting less attention as the belief that a better economy will improve everything. It’s a sad fact, but while each and every one of us sits back and sighs we have to be the change makers and this doesn’t start with politics, oil or big business and it doesn’t start with dollar bills. It starts with a mirror.
Yes, a mirror. We do it each and every day and never see it; the person standing in front of you on that sheet of glass is the only person that can begin to be the change. We all stare into the 21st century mirrors full of CNN, Skynews and BBC images of Ferguson, ISIS and Ebola and it’s these that make us sigh. We fail to realize what we are sighing for and why our sighs are there, as these things truly don’t impact us personally. We are focused on the feelings and stories of others and not ourselves and those closest to us. Yes, Michael Brown died and yes Darren Wilson has had his life turned on its head, people have been hurt inside, lives have been placed in the spotlight and issues of racial tension that have been brewing while eyes were focused on barrels of oil and how strong the dollar is have been brought to the forefront.
But the 50 plus generation is a generation that has overcome many of the social ills that lie behind stories like Ferguson and we, only we are able to move us forward now as a country and as a planet. The entire change starts with your bathroom mirror. It starts in the face staring back at you and the person inside that face. The reflection of the world can be changed if we change and that starts right here, right now with you.
It starts with us being grateful for the half century we have had. It starts with us finding and sharing our morals, our integrity and our happiness. It starts with a single act of kindness. It becomes real when we get to know others in our neighborhoods finding those who have lived the same half century as us but have perhaps ended up not where they should be and are still fighting for life each day. It starts with us turning a sigh into a cheer and knowing just one little thing we do can begin a chain reaction that begins to heal the wounded animal Ferguson has shown us. As a 50 plus generation we owe this to ourselves to do.
Are you prepared to make the shift from Sigh to Cheer? You are never too old to change something, our parents went to war for us to have a world that was free, today is not different and we can begin right now.
Written by Matthew Newnham