Monday, February 21, 2011

Broken Dreams; New Reality

I'm in a mood. Not a good mood, nor a bad one. Just...a mood.

I've been thinking about what the zombie plague has really cost us. I've written before about the cost in real terms--safety, shelter, food, and the like. The thing is, the more I think about what's happened to the world as we approach a year into this mess, the more I think that every bit of bad has had an equal amount of good.

This isn't a new concept. I've talked about it before. Let's take the Richmond soldiers as an example, shall we? While I'm still furious (along with every other citizen of my compound, at home and abroad) that we were betrayed and had our home taken, a lot of good has come from it. Call it fate or kismet, but events have worked out to be largely beneficial for many, many people since my home was taken over.

The various groups of refugees have accomplished a lot since they've been gone from home. Courtney and her convoy built friendships and trade agreements with dozens of groups of survivors as well as securing a lot of new supplies and bringing in many new people. Gabrielle and Evans' group managed to bring in new blood as well, and build goodwill with their short-lived medical practice at the hospital. They even managed to find another doctor, and Phil has been knocking the rust off his old skills very well. My group hasn't accomplished as much, to be honest, but since we've been here at North Jackson, I think we've done a lot to help the citizens of this place deal with the horrible tragedies that have hit them.

Funny, none of them blame us for bringing it down on top of their heads. That last attack, anyway, happened because we're here. I take it as a sign of incredible maturity as a people that they didn't blame us for that. They took us in, they took the risk, and they accept that.

Which is exactly my point with this post. Look at how irrational and short-sighted people used to be, and compare that with how those around you act now. I have seen so many people use their logic and reason when they would have once simply reacted out of anger or fear. Though the Richmond soldiers have my home, I can't help but feel some satisfaction that those of us who managed to escape have used our freedom for the betterment of ourselves and others. It's awesome.

The cost, to me, is a hard one but ultimately worth it. I don't know if that's my stupidly powerful optimism making the situation look better than it actually is, but that's how I feel. We've paid a heavy cost in human lives since The Fall took away so many, and we'll do so again. But because of that crucible, those of us who are left are better than we probably could have been before. Inch by inch, we are moving toward being a people that have less need for violence between ourselves, and more towards a cooperative society. There are, of course, exceptions--like the Richmond soldiers.

I'm fine with the fact that my dreams have been broken, likely forever. I used to want to be an author, someone who wrote fantastic tales and had a comfortable, wonderful life because of his popularity. Big house, decent car, none of the struggle to pay the bills that had defined my life until The Fall.

Look at me now. I'm a writer, all right. But now I huddle over my laptop or phone, desperately telling the facts as a way of keeping myself sane. I'm ok with that, since this blog has saved the lives of many people, and acted as an instrument for other groups to find us and start the process of working together. My dream of being the next Stephen King or Patrick Rothfuss is probably dead forever. I'm alive, though. I'll take that as a win.

It's the same for most people. The happiest people before The Fall are likely still the happiest as survivors. Those folks didn't want the trappings of success or the ease of life that comes with wealth. Chances are, those folks wanted to live a full life, one with purpose and love, and everything else was just icing on the cake. I envy that attitude, and I hope that I can feel that way permanently some day. I want to leave behind my old life completely, forget the old hopes that no longer apply, and forever simply be here, now, in the life that I have.

I hope the same for each and every one of you. May all of us learn to be happy as things are, and find the joy in the everyday that the best among us take for granted. Though some of us are far away from home, we can manage it. I know it.

I've got some things to see to tomorrow that can't wait, so I won't be posting. I've sent a text to Patrick to see if he can keep all of you entertained in my absence. Hoping he'll get the message, and will be able to send something out...

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