F**k you, 2020- the year my freshman year of college was cut short; the year I was moved away from my best friends; the year my family drove me crazy by being the only humans I saw for months.

Again, f**k you 2020- the year developing countries struggled to deal with pandemics, epidemics, and famines; the year the unemployment rates hit all-time-highs; the year the police continued to harm innocent lives, because of the color of their skin. With the cruelty and calamity that our phones and televisions constantly remind us of, it wouldn’t be surprising if some are questioning the entire essence of humanity. As healthcare workers continue to put their own lives on the line to save those of others; across the street, cops who swore to safeguard citizens continue to take their lives away. The dichotomy of ‘being human’ that has revealed its true colors in recent months is an inexplicable complex that can easily send you down a dwindling, downward spiral. However, the pressing nature of current events leaves no time to ponder. It’s time to shift our roles from informed bystanders to informed activists, with no time to waste. To this end, here’s my scientific advice- go. eat. some. chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT even remotely close to a quick fix- but it’s an essential first step that you, as a “newly born” informed activist, need to take. Let me explain. As members of the human race, one thing we all have is a brain (even if it may not seem so these days). Our brains can be compared to the water bodies on this planet, in that we only understand about 10% of them. Surprisingly, even this 10% of understanding can give us a lot of insight into how we need to treat this ridiculously powerful organ in order to yield the best outcomes for ourselves and for others.

In simple, non-scientific terms, our brains are made up of a series of messengers, docks, and paths. The messengers, expectedly, are responsible for carrying messages and loading them onto or unloading them from the docks to travel down the paths. They can disguise themselves as several substances, one type being ‘endorphins’- groups of hormones that act on opiate receptors (i.e. their “allocated” docks). Through a series of scientific events, that are a bunch of blah blah unless you’re a fellow brain-fanatic (no shame), the receptors result in a feeling synonymous to that of euphoria. Chocolate, coincidentally, is a friend of endorphins.

So essentially, through the simple act of biting into a chocolate bar: endorphins are triggered, and your brain undergoes some chaotic science to make you happier. If you’re a trooper, go for a run to get your dose of endorphins; but from personal experience, chocolate stands as the top contender.

Now, let’s join the dots. If you can remember from the days of pre-covid19 travel, the passenger announcements in airplanes would sound, “please secure your own [oxygen] mask before assisting others”. In the same light, we are living in a time when the world needs us, and we cannot afford to be in subpar shape. If we are allowing ourselves to mentally succumb to the tragedy that is an unfortunate actuality today or exposing ourselves to exhaustion- mental or physical- we will not be in a position to bring about the most effective change. While the plasticity of our brains allows them to create sentiments of optimism, they are equally capable of causing persistent pessimism. Unfortunately, our current climate has made the latter much too possible. To fully commit ourselves to fighting the bad (virus or police), we need to commit to fighting our brain’s bad tendencies.

Just eat the damn chocolate, make sure you are a ‘well-oiled’ machine, and channel all your energy into helping those who need it now more than ever before. From an amateur perspective, the only opinion towards 2020 is, simply stated, f**k you. However, hopefully, we will look back on this year as a time when every able individual worked on their personal growth solely for the purpose of the imminently needed, joint growth. Afterall, “hindsight is 20/20”.

Leave a Reply