3D printers have been in the news a lot recently.
People all over the world have been using them to make “ear savers” for medical personnel and other essential workers. Wearing protective masks for prolonged spans of time can cause pain and injury to the ear, and these adjustable inventions ease the pressure and provide relief.
I was particularly struck by a story about two San Diego engineering students who used their newly acquired skills to create hundreds of ear savers.
When we are faced with adversity, there are two basic responses, a resistance-based reaction and a solution-based reaction. The first is “I can’t believe this is happening. I don’t want this, it’s awful and I’m really angry”; the second is “This is happening and I don’t like it, but what can I do to make any part of this better for me or others?”
I think it’s human nature to react with the former; it’s a fear response, one that touches on both fight and flight. It takes patience and practice and a willingness to allow introspection to be able to do the latter.
Those two college students could have chosen to be frustrated that their college experience was being ruined by the unforeseeable circumstances in which we find ourselves. Instead, they put their knowledge and access to a 3D printer to good use, to do their part in creating a solution.
When the pandemic hit and my life and livelihood were upended, I spent quite a few days in anger and fear, and it’s still a daily conversation in my mind how I’m going to choose to face the day. But this experience is allowing me to finally really understand and internalize Eldridge Cleaver’s oft-quoted words, “You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”
Given the current state of the world, what does it mean to be part of the solution? Part of the problem?
Task for the day: stop watching movies on my iPad in bed before I go to sleep. I’ve had 2 totally sleepless nights, which I can attribute to blue light exposure and some really non-relaxing films. I’ll let you know tomorrow whether I succeed!