Common sense to overcome powerlessness


By Vivian Blevins

Contributing Columnist

Are you feeling powerless as we move into 2023? Mass shootings, domestic violence, the war in Ukraine, COVID, inflation, chemical abuse, climate change.

I’ve always believed in the power of list making and then acting on the lists. Why not make a list in priority order of what is making you feel powerless. Review that list and determine what you have the power to change. Next, detail an action plan, activities that you have the finances, the strength, the influence, the motivation to do. You might discover with your list that you have more power than you initially thought.

Specificity is important when others give advice, and you might be saying to yourself, Okay, Vivian, what are you doing?

With the resignation of Rob Portman, we have a new U.S. Senator in Ohio, J.D. Vance. I’ve written him a letter indicating the many positives I believe he is bringing to that position in terms of his life experiences. These experiences will help him understand what is foreign to many members of the Senate: coming from a dysfunctional family, serving in the U.S. Marines, graduating from The Ohio State University in political science and philosophy, earning a law degree from Yale University, having three biracial children, being a successful entrepreneur, having high intellectual ability, and knowing American history and government. If he will divorce himself from forces that plan to engage in actions that are bent on revenge for offenses real or imagined, and collaborate to make decisions that are in the best interest of a democratic society, his future has no limits as he helps move us through this quagmire which now threatens to choke us.

You have elected representatives, and I’m suggesting that in lieu of a phone call or a form letter that you write a personal letter to one or more of them expressing your sense of what you expect/value. If possible, tell someone you’re doing this as it will increase your chances of following through. I told one of the classes I teach at Edison State that I am writing to Vance.

Another issue that’s on my mind is one that will help you realize your power and act on it. Were you surrounded by family, friends, and great food on Thanksgiving Day? What about lonely folks at assisted-living facilities who had no visitors?

There’s time for you to organize through your school, your religious group, your service organization, your family a small group of three plus persons to visit a lonely person or two at a facility on Dec. 24th or 25th.

Any day will work – even after the holidays. You might be asking, “And do what?”

Talking is good or doing balloon art or taking a selection of coloring books/crayons and coloring as you talk. Reading, telling jokes, playing music are welcomed activities as well. Know that no one expects you to be an expert: it’s about connecting with lonely others. And you might connect with a special person and continue to visit.

Are there elderly people in your neighborhood who need you to retrieve their trees and decorations from their attics or basements and help with the decorations? Perhaps they’ve decided that they’re too old or too tired or too ill to be bothered with decorating. This is where you come in. And arrange for a time to return the decorations to their storage areas.

In conclusion, you’ll note that I have not said anything about donating money. There are so many groups that need money in order to fulfill their missions. Go ahead and write out checks, but in addition, do something that’s personal, that involves you, that gives you a sense that you can make a positive difference in the lives of others.

When I write each week, I know that there are readers who have great ideas. Talk about your ideas with persons of like minds and take action. You well gain or regain your sense of power.

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