The Universe Next Door 8)Progress! by A

Dear Q,

I’m so sorry – I’ve really confused you! ‘Mates’ is a word that we use here to mean friends. It does have the other meaning you were asking about but these days it’s used a lot just to describe people you like and tend to see a lot. I hope that clears things up a bit.

Anyway – I have news! I went to hang out (oops, that means spend time with) my friends and I asked a couple of them who were wearing tops with eco stuff all over the fronts about some of the things you’ve been talking about. They told me a lot I need to think through. I feel I’ve been kind of sleepwalking through my life – just doing my job and then spending time enjoying myself. That often means – buying stuff. Somehow, having stuff made me think I was really making progress in the world, made me feel I was sort of important – almost that having stuff was what I was for!!!!

Well, I can tell you now – and you won’t be surprised to hear this, that my friends wasted no time in explaining to me that I’d been hoodwinked into thinking that. That all the marketing and advertising was deliberately aimed at making me feel that I was only worth anything if I had lots of stuff to prove it. The really sad part is that most of the stuff was pretty rubbish anyway – didn’t last or was quickly replaced by another model – so I was always in a state of anxiety in case I wasn’t up-to-date enough. Basically, in case I wasn’t cool – which I thought meant fashionable - someone who’s got lots of stuff that other people would also like to have. I was just SO WRONG!!! I don’t understand how come I didn’t notice that some of my friends had become so thoughtful and involved with the climate crisis and other really important issues that are going on. Actually, I’m really proud of them – I hope that doesn’t sound condescending – it really isn’t meant to.

The friends I was talking to – they care about the things that are happening in the world right now,(which is a lot, as you know)and they’re not worried about getting the latest stuff at all.Having said that they also look really good – they know how to make the most of what they have and they don’t need lots. So I came away a bit embarrassed that I haven’t noticed any of this but also excited that I have friends who are really cool in the right way and know some of the kinds of things that you’ve been saying. For example, I asked them what they thought of the current leadership and I won’t repeat what they said as there was a lot of swearing involved and fears that democracy itself was being dismantled by both extremes of our political ideologies plus ‘vested interest’. So you’re diagnosis of the pandemic seems to be pretty accurate as far as my friends are concerned.

Anyway, I’ve got an awful lot to think about because I realise that I’m going to have to change. I’ll have to catch up with what’s really been going on instead of hiding from it and then decide what I can do. So, please don’t give up on me yet – or my planet. I’m glad we’re unique but that also makes everything so much more of a responsibility!

Hope you’re well over there – write soon.

All the very very best and thank you for waking me up


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