“Not today” is a slang I’ve heard tossed around grade-school kids. I’m not sure whether it is a local slang spawned from an already existing mainstream joke, or if it’s a new expression that’s gradually gaining territory. However, unlike other expressions that have developed over the years, this one has a deeper meaning and embodies a new emotional resistance.
The term “not today” in adult meaning is: “You tried to mess with me, but I outsmarted you – today, you didn’t get me.” You were playing a game and someone tried to get you out, but you moved quicker – “Ha! Not today.” Someone was bullying you but for some reason, today you felt a little stronger and weren’t as affected by it – “Not today!”. Something or someone was conspiring against you but in the end, you got your way – or at least, you didn’t care about the outcome. Not today, at least.
It’s hard to be an Earth savior. It’s really, really, hard. There are people that will tell you you’re wrong – your science is wrong, your activism is wrong, your changing-the-world-to-save-it is wrong. There are people that will support you and be your cheerleaders – hang onto them. For every person that cheers you on, there are ten judging you and bringing you down – sometimes literally. When it comes to saving the Earth, you will never be in the good graces of society – at least not the one we have right now, that incentives to buy and to consume. You will likely be an outcast. You are probably more likely to be misunderstood and feel unloved embracing a career that takes care of Planet Earth than in any other career option (aside from tax collecting – is that still a job?).
This job isn’t for the weak. It’s for those who can raise a voice, sustain their voice, and can be positive in the light of such negativity. It’s for those who can stare down other peoples’ judgements and smile. It’s for those who will never quit, even in face of adversity. It’s for those who know that the end goal is more important than wanting to be understood by society or loved by people. It’s about making the Earth a better place and never losing sight of that dream, even though it is likely not to be accomplished in a lifetime.
It’s a job for candidates who don’t exist on Earth. And yet, we must become them.
So for now on, for everyone who tells me I can’t, I’ll reply: Not today. Not for me – because I’m not perfect and I’ll crumble under scrutiny – but for the Earth, because the Earth can’t afford to lose another Earth-savior. On the days that I don’t who I am or what I’m doing, at least I know this – I’m working towards making the Earth a little better than it was when I found it. If nothing else, at least my life will have that purpose.
Give up? Not today.