More than once I’ve considered a lengthy social media vacation, but the tentacles of a writing life require a regular connectivity that is best served online. So I’ve tried compartmentalizing my feeds on Facebook, Twitter, G+, hoping to more easily avoid the 24/7 news cycle. But short of blocking/unfollowing swaths of important people in my life, I can’t escape the headlines.
Limiting my time online was my next effort. Sadly, I lack the discipline to close out all those extraneous windows when I sit down at the computer (which is where I spend my days if I’m not in the classroom). FOMO* looms large.
Shaking my growing distrust of all things social often seems like a lost cause. I’ve long since caved on political cynicism, and Charles Bukowski’s words “People empty me. I have to get away to refill” echo in my brain.
Then I had the good fortune to meet a group of people who gave me a glimmer of hope. It was a stretch for me to show up to begin with – I don’t do well in a crowd on my own – but since I wore my Antioch Writers’ Workshop assistant director hat, I managed to walk through the doors of the Bryan Center at a recent noon hour.
I’m glad I did.
The Yellow Springs Non-profits luncheon introduced me to twenty-one new faces and fifteen organizations, only a handful of which I’d been familiar with prior to the meeting. Brought together on a bi-monthly basis by the Morgan Family Foundation (I think I have the structure correct), the group shares challenges and celebrations, resources and information – and hope.
- Yellow Springs Senior Center – providing so much more than a place for those “sixty or better” to gather for lunch and Bingo
- Tecumseh Land Trust and Glen Helen – caring for our environment, preserving it for future generations
- Yellow Springs Home, Inc. – helping families obtain affordable housing in town and thus ensuring our tiny village doesn’t age out into non-existence
- WYSO-91.3FM (the public radio station sponsored by Antioch College) – offering more quality local programming mixed with insightful NPR broadcasts than any station I’ve ever heard
- YSKP (Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse) and the Yellow Springs Arts Council – supporting visual and performing arts for young and old
- The Village offices, the Chamber of Commerce, Antioch University
I’m probably forgetting someone. I was overwhelmed again (happens far too often), but in a good way this time. All of the representatives were passionate about their cause, eager to share their mission – and equally eager to learn about others. No more than one or two folks at the table make a six-figure salary; many of them volunteer far more hours than their organizations could ever afford to pay for. And they (we!) all share a common goal:
A better community, a better life, for everyone
In our little corner of the world at least, there is hope. I need to remember that.
*Fear of missing out