Thoughts left on New York subway (credit: zmeetsworld @ Instagram)

Moving forward

One of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 20. Along with every challenge that came with it, he also came out if it with a tremendous amount of focus, drive, and appreciation for life.

Seven days ago the country I love was diagnosed with cancer. Not that this equates what my friend had to go through personally — yet the analogy does stand in some ways. For the next four years we are all doomed to wake up every morning with the realization that half our brothers and sisters chose a man that is openly misogynistic and racist to represent and lead us.

The election of Donald Trump is the first great moral catastrophe of our generation.

The election of Donald Trump is the first great moral catastrophe of our generation — the millennials. A day that may stay etched in our memory the way baby boomers talk about the assassination of JFK. Such occasions do however arise in everyone’s life, when they wake up to realize that the situation is terminal.

In my mind, there are two noble ways of moving forward from such moments. Either you retire from this emotional circus we call life and embrace monk-hood. Or you roll up your sleeves, gather up your courage, and get to work even harder on what you believe in.

Momentous occasions do not have to alter your belief system. But they ought to induce a sense of urgency. Maybe you believe that better government is the solution. Then you might act by organizing, building movements, and being the voice of the voiceless. Or maybe you believe in private enterprise. Then you might double down on building products that connect people, cure illnesses, and even take us to Mars.

For me, the days since the election have been among the most focused. Partially because a strong urge to throw up has kept me from being distracted by news outlets. But really because since I shook off the existential-depression I woke up with last Wednesday morning, I’ve wanted to be even more fearless in utilizing and appreciating everything I have.

So I pledge to work harder than ever to make the world a better place. I pledge to try more to understand the pain of my fellow Americans — and my fellow earthlings — who live outside of the utopian bubble of Silicon Valley. I pledge to be more aware-of and fight the injustices the women in my life deal with every single day. I pledge to work on finding my own voice, so that I can impact what I care about. And I pledge to be even more grateful for all that I have and all that lead to me.

How I react to this moment will be most telling of the type of person I am.

How I react to this moment will be most telling of the type of person I am, more than anything Donal J. Trump could ever do to me. Generations of heroes fought hard to gift us every inch of freedom we enjoy today. Now this is our fight. Let us rise to the occasion to make sure that history will be etched with stories of how our generation overcame adversity, changed humanity for the better, and put that dent in the universe.