For the past two years, I’ve heard numerous people comment that the world today is like an episode from the “Twilight Zone.”
Everything seems to be upside down. The things we assumed were dependable have unraveled. The rules we followed have been broken. The leaders we believed in have failed.
Like the “Twilight Zone,” the future looks unpredictable. Unlike the “Twilight Zone,” there are no commercial breaks where we can run to the kitchen and get a reprieve from the drama (as well as a snack). Unfortunately, there is no Rod Serling to guide us through this realm.
We’ve seen the macabre twists, but the moral of this never-ending saga is yet to appear.
Like the episode where that bank teller who yearns to have more time to read and gets his wish when he becomes the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust, have we as a people wanted more free time and now have that wish granted?
Except freedom really isn’t part of the formula.
Yes, we now have lots of time to read at home but we are no longer a free people. We are captive to bureaucratic baloney. One week we have to follow this mandate or that and the next it has all changed.
The ever-moving goal posts of not knowing what or whom to believe makes one distrustful of those who are in power.
In Santa Barbara, we have been witness to a depressing descent into hopelessness.
How many businesses on State Street and other once-thriving thoroughfares have gone dark? How many hard-working shopkeepers, restaurateurs and service providers have disappeared? Our streets are littered with debris, our walls are defaced with graffiti, and the transient population has taken over our once-pristine piece of paradise.
As a community, we have created numerous rescue services and welfare programs at great cost to taxpayers, but it hasn’t worked.
In fact, it seems to encourage bad behavior and a reliance upon handouts instead of inspiring transients to become contributors to our society. Where is that guardian angel of Santa Barbara who can find a solution?
There is one thing that the “Twilight Zone” offered in many episodes: hope. That is what we now need to hold onto tightly. With hope we can cause change.
By striving to be better driven by the spirit of hope, things around us will also become better. If you are fortunate to have someone in your life to love and something to do, then hope is easier to nurture. If you are searching for that love component, then look around you with fresh eyes.
Love takes many different forms, from the love of a soulmate to the love of a neighbor to the love of a pet.
If you can bring kindness into your daily life, then life will reward you.
For our beloved Santa Barbara, do what you can to help improve it. If you see trash on the sidewalk, pick it up. Help support a struggling business and become a loyal customer. As easy as it may seem to order everything online, it comes at a much higher cost — the price of losing a local business.
If you have been waiting at home for things to change, initiate that change. Volunteer at one of the hundreds of local nonprofits in town. You can make a difference in many lives by helping out. It will also make a big difference in your life.
Focusing on someone to love, something to do and something to hope for could be the moral of this episode and a pathway out of the “Twilight Zone.”