What Does it Mean to ‘Make the Most of It’?

Capitol Building 202 3 by artist Mawra Tahreem
Capitol Building 202 3 by artist Mawra Tahreem

The events that took place at the capital this week have saddened and horrified us. Not only is it appalling that rioters stormed our nation’s Capitol, looting and destroying as they went, but they did so at the behest of our Commander in Chief. Draped in Confederate flags and swastikas, these rioters were ultimately allowed to damage, to ransack, and then to “go home in peace”, with an assurance from our president that they were “‘all very special”.

This display would be unequivocally repudiated had we not slowly become desensitized over the last year (not to mention the last four years) to immoral behavior masquerading as freedom. And yet, many people responded with a weary acceptance, and the casual sentiment, ‘I suppose 2020 isn’t over yet’.

A year in review

The year 2020 was undoubtedly a difficult year. Not just for Americans, but for people all around the world.

February brought a pandemic which led to a tragic and continued loss of life and livelihood. Then, the murder of George Floyd engendered a tide of peacful protests (unlike the violent event at the Capitol) that were each met with tear gas, physical violence, and rubber bullets. Meanwhile, global warming progressed, basic human rights were threatened, and the atrocity that was 2020 began to tip into complete unreality.

Growing more detached with each new and increasingly bizarre, disaster – murder hornets, massive explosions, raging wildfires, the deaths of countless inspirational figures – we began to place blame on the year itself.

2020 meme

 

Thus, as 2021 slowly approached, we looked forward to the end of what had been dubbed a hellish year. An odd optimism pervaded and when the clock struck midnight, people cheered – delighted to be washing their hands of a particularly trying 12 months.

And then a mob of people stormed the Capitol building on January 6th, 2021.

Ex nihilo nihil fit

Yes, 2020 was a particularly terrible year, but the many things that occurred did not occur in a vacuum. If we act as though they did, then we fail to acknowledge that many of the hardships experienced throughout 2020 were months, years, and decades in the making.

Our marginalized citizens, those who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, women, and especially those at the intersections of multiple identities, have been suffering beneath the weight of an unjust system since our nation’s founding. The earth dies slowly after generations of mistreatment, and hundreds of thousands of people have died from a deadly disease that was treated like a political bargaining chip rather than a health crisis.

The major events that plagued us throughout 2020 did not spring into being. They’ve been slowly compounding with every racist and sexist joke, every refusal to reduce waste, every indifferent reaction to a homophobic slur, every decision to disbelieve victims, and every declination to wear a mask.

Making the Most of It?

We announced last week that The Confident Stitch intends to better itself by approaching this year with five new resolutions. We declared that we’ll be ‘making the most of 2021’. A nice thought, but we need to look closer at what this phrase really means. Aside from being a crafty pun, what does it mean to ‘make the most’ of something?

In the context of our broken nation, how do we climb our way back out of this hole we’ve been digging? The problems, in many ways, feel insurmountable, and it’s easy to become defensive and defeatist. Where and how do each of us begin to make the most of the coming year and, ultimately, the time left to us on this planet?

The answer is with one intentional step at a time.

Just as offhand slurs and discriminatory language build to hateful movements and violent deeds, so too do purposeful acts of growth and kindness build to positive change.

If we want to change our country for the better, we need to begin by making the conscious choice to open our minds and our hearts. In order to ‘make the most’ of the coming year, we need to make the decision to grow, make the decision to change, to speak up in the face of prejudice, to examine our own behavior, and to lean into discomfort when discovering that we are in the wrong.

One foot in front of the other

The year (and years) ahead will not be easy, but ‘making the most of it’ must not represent a passive tolerance of the reality in which we find ourselves. Instead, it must be a promise to actively generate change.

At the same time, we should look jubilantly upon the prospect of fulfilling this promise! With positive change comes the opportunity to expand our communities, help our neighbors, spread kindness, and broaden our minds. While the work is hard, it is also undoubtedly liberating. A burden shouldered by many is never too heavy.

We are a community of makers. We find true joy in creating – in building – and, thus, we are in a unique position to examine ourselves, and to change for the better. What are your ideas for making change? How do you think you will start? What are your fears and concerns? How can we work together as a community to make way for a better tomorrow?

Thank you for reading, now let’s start making.

Note: While we encourage all to participate in a conversation in the comments below, we will not tolerate hate speech of any kind.

5 thoughts on “What Does it Mean to ‘Make the Most of It’?

  1. Janet Sedgley says:

    I find that it is helping my mental state to be involved with an organization that is trying to do something about the polarized situation in America. Trying to bridge the divide will be slow work but as we listen to each other better, I think we will find reasons to reach across the aisle, find some common goals and work toward some joint solutions. (There are several organizations but I speak specifically about braverangels.org.) That … and sewing to calm our nerves!

  2. Sharon Horner says:

    As we went into 2021 I was cautiously optimistic given the country’s history of the past four years. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see a storming of the Capitol building. I am determined now more than ever to remain optimistic and move forward into 2021 living a healthy lifestyle and return to sewing. I no longer quilt but would like to start sewing my own clothes again. The Confident Stitch and my granddaughter have given me inspiration — thank you!

  3. Kay Welch says:

    I hope this doesn’t get me kicked off your site. I feel strongly about our country & our freedoms. I absolutely DO NOT CONDONE the invasion of the Capitol! There were thousands in Washington to peacefully protest, which is our right in this country, but the MOB encouraged by the President took away any chance of a peaceful message being delivered or received. I also would like to remind you of the violence, looting, rioting, burning of the neighborhoods, and destruction of many public buildings across the country following the George Floyd and other incidents. Those actions also overtook the peaceful protests and messages of the people. There has been a growing attitude in this country for some time (by all races) that there is no need for respect, “do what you want”, “take what you want”, and if innocent people are injured or killed in the process “oh well. I’ve been saddened on what the media focuses on because I know in my heart the majority of people in this country care deeply, have great compassion for others, and reach out to help those in need. I will remain hopeful and confident that the good caring people will keep up their good work, we will regain respect for one another, and all work together to mend & heal the damage that has been done. Thank you for allowing my comments, Take good care in this new year.

  4. Carmil Mullaney says:

    I was directed to The Confident Stitch after clicking on fabric recommendations from Cashmerette.
    I will be coming back to purchase fabric and support this business because of the beautiful post I found in your blog. The disgrace of the past four years has scarred us all. I support you taking a stand and agree with your challenge for 2021

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