Today, I turned 30. I still feel 29, or maybe even 19, but I guess 30 is somewhat of an achievement. I've reached the age where I've learned a few things about life, and earned the respect of some people, but I'm not so old that I have to start worrying about prostate exams or colonoscopies. I'd say I'm in a pretty good spot, but I hope the next 30 years doesn't go as fast.
I like to think of myself as a caring person, and attempt to behave compassionately towards others. Sometimes I fall short in that effort, but failing is what humans do, and successful humans learn from failure. I'd like to discuss what I believe is one of my more recent failures, and what I've come to learn about what's behind it. When the masking guidance and mandates first dropped, it short-circuited me. I reacted in disbelief, anger, and refusal to enter places that required masks. Masking was a simple act that was both scientifically and morally justified. I wondered if I really was a decent person, or if this reflexive pushback was just uncovering undiagnosed sociopathic tendencies. I started to wonder if my outward behaviors of positivity and kindness were just facades that I'd constructed around a dark psyche. Given the rhetoric surrounding mask-wearing, which can — as far as I understand — be reduced to “you're a monster if you don't do this,” it was ha