Dear Mr. President,
Lately I've had a number of conversations with friends about the kind of people we want in our lives, and the kind of people we want to be ourselves. It comforts me to know that other people also struggle with their own conceptions of themselves and their desire to see the good even in the deeply flawed. Over the last three days I've spent time with my mother and with friends long-standing and brand-new. I've been reminded of the things I've always loved about them, or come to realize their magnificent qualities, in the smallest ways. Waiting semi-patiently in a tiny lobby for a table at a restaurant I've wanted to try forever with my mother. Group high-fiving with friends as we enjoyed an especially successful kitchen adventure. Sharing meals, or cupcakes or a few pitchers of beer. I've been remembering these encounters in a series of moments that don't mean anything but just make me feel happy. Happier than I've been in a while. Happier than maybe I believed I could be while so many other things are so uncertain.
This sense of connection with the people in my life calms my usual anxiety about what I'm doing with my life and if I'm doing it fast enough. Goals are important, (and I have them,) but pausing to enjoy the company of the many, many amazing people around me is also important. Maybe even more so. My inclination to feel like I'm alone or, at least, unforgivably messed up and strange, is beaten back by the affection of these incredible friends and family who seem to like me well enough anyway.
With this sense of elation comes an intense desire to see the best in others. Even President Bush just seems to have some severe Mommy issues. Those idiots who post angry comments on the White House facebook page (please, for the sake of your own sanity, never read those,) are just lonely and desperate and frightened. All of my peers who decided not to vote (even the ones in Washington State who only have to mail an envelope) were.... Ok, that did it, I'm back to my cynical mistrust for all of humanity. (Thanks, young voters.) Some things are actually just inexcusable.
But as my friend today so wisely put it, life is weird. We try to do the best we can, to make the right choices and to find the best in people and to appreciate those we love. The strange and the complicated and the rare moments of contentment just make it all worth it. And while talking heads might try to claim your trip to Indonesia and India as an unforgivable indulgence of a desire to see Diwali celebrations, I would be so much happier if I could believe you were actually relaxing and having fun. Mommy issues or no, President Bush spent most of his time on vacation. I think you've earned a few weeks of physical distance from the frustration of domestic politics. Whenever I'm happy and content and particularly pleased with the people in my life, the one thing I want most is for every one else to feel the same way. That's something that not even the apathetic, fair-weather-activist, youth voters can ruin, either.
Life is weird. Isn't it great?