#iamnotahashtag

It's been a long week.

I spent the bulk of it insulating and drywalling my restaurant in 90 degree heat.  It wasn't my favorite task, but the job needed to get done.  And if I've learned anything over the last 3 years at my building, it's that hard tasks come and go.

But cold beers are forever.

Anyway, while I was slinging rock all week, my mind started wandering.  For whatever reason, it landed on Ebola.  Remember the Ebola virus? It was once all over the news, and I'm sure it's still out there taking lives, but we don't hear about it any more.  Then I got to thinking about Zika.  Remember that one?  And AIDS?  

Then my mind drifted beyond incurable diseases and onto other big news items that just faded from public awareness.  You know them: the stories that were major hashtags for a few weeks, and then they went away.  Remember #bringbackourgirls, the movement to find the females students kidnapped by Boko Haram?  (More than a hundred girls are still missing.)  And remember #icantbreathe, the meme that went viral after Eric Garner was murdered by a police chokehold? And #takeaknee? #metoo? #jesuischarlie? #prayfororlando? #sandyhook? #covfefe?

I could go on all night.

The point is, nothing stays in the news for long these days, because we're just so inundated with new material all the time.   Life moves on quickly.  And in some ways, that's a good thing.

But in others, it's not.  The general public has the attention span of a gnat.  If you're the sensitive "heal the world" sort like me, that can be troubling.  I often wonder: how can I make an impact in such fast-paced times? How can I make real change in a world that likes everything in 280 characters?  What's the point of even trying to do anything if the public will be indifferent to your efforts in a matter of hours?

I think I'm learning-day by day-not to care what the public thinks.  

This process of building a restaurant has been in some ways therapeutic for me.  I used to care a lot about who liked me on Instagram, who came to my shows, who wrote press about me, what my rankings were, etc. I was spending an inordinate amount of energy on winning a spot in the race.  It was a losing battle.  And it wasn't a great use of time.

But what has been a great use of time is working hard everyday, plodding along, believing in myself, and believing my efforts are important. I've chosen not to place any of my self-worth in the hands of anybody but me. Me and my causes have stayed important to me for 38 years. And there's no hashtag for that.

Reader, it's a whirlwind world out there.  If you get swept up, consider joining me in trying to extricate yourself from it all. Whatever our projects are, let's keep focused and keep at them.  We are not as short-lived as the world we live in.  See you next Sunday. -Em

1 comment

  • SueF

    SueF Chicago

    Emily, these are very wise words indeed. Like you, I am troubled by the big things that happen and disappear without being resolved. I try to follow the major stories but feel inundated. I think all we can do is make our spot in the universe a brighter place, and touch those around us. We forget the impact that one person can have on so many others. I, and many others find what you do so inspirational; and while you're right not to care -- not to DO it for 'likes' -- your impact is large in a very positive way, and I hope that is meaningful to you. Onward! :-)

    Emily, these are very wise words indeed. Like you, I am troubled by the big things that happen and disappear without being resolved. I try to follow the major stories but feel inundated.

    I think all we can do is make our spot in the universe a brighter place, and touch those around us. We forget the impact that one person can have on so many others. I, and many others find what you do so inspirational; and while you're right not to care -- not to DO it for 'likes' -- your impact is large in a very positive way, and I hope that is meaningful to you. Onward! :-)

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