am·biv·a·lence (n) /amˈbivələnt/
the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.
Before all of this, ambivalent wouldn’t have been the first word I’d use to describe my worldview; it suggests far more moodiness and indecisiveness than I’d willingly associate myself with. But, one season of podcasting and pandemic-ing later, and I’ve realized that I feel nothing but ambivalence towards our human experience. My wide scope of conversations clarified for me that life, in all its dynamism, is fully incapable of being wholly one thing, or wholly another. It is forever shifting. The difference is, now, my ambivalence has lost its bliss–and, in my mind, it’s no coincidence that it has gone right at the close of season 1.
Over 16 weeks, I’ve had the privilege to learn and share insights from visionaries, educators, creators, and entrepreneurs who have sparked in me a gutsiness that I’m just beginning to get comfortable with. They knowingly joined me in conversations they imagined would ruffle feathers, induce introspection, and hopefully, inspire fervent criticism of American society.
In me doing more of that, my ambivalence might find its bliss again…but if it never does, the least I can do is thank you for listening, even when you hated what you heard.
"What would your younger self not believe about your life today?"
A simple question from “we’re not really strangers” spurred a thought within me. And though the occurrence could’ve struck me as mundane, given the mass of thoughts I bombard myself with on a regular basis, I found myself in awe of my answer:
“…how much happiness I’ve created for myself.”
It wasn’t what I had found–as I might a passion, or, hell, even a soulmate, but, how much happiness I actually self-manufactured day-in-and-day-out. It’s a bizarre revolution–one that both uplifts, and saddens you, because all around you, powerful propaganda asserts that happiness isn’t self-created. Society has worked for centuries to make us feel as if happiness has to come from some outwardly source: we’re made to want jobs, disposable things, and partners, that make us look and feel more important, until we’ve screwed over just about everyone to get it, and everything. still. fucking. sucks.
The only cure, it seems, is challenging ourselves to make the happiness we want to feel; to create it for ourselves, one step at a time. And on our darkest days, to feel that happiness is the strength to believe that the rain that’s pouring is only part of the sunshine.
But how can that sunshine be created?: