Hard Times? Let’s Party!
In October of 2001, you may remember that all crop-dusting aircraft were grounded, due to the potential threat of terrorists using them to spray us with smallpox, or some equally deadly organism. At that point, I had to decide how I felt about coming down with a fatal disease. I decided the best thing was to accept it.
Months later, the news reported on the seemingly imminent threat of pandemic flu. The head of Homeland Security advised that we stock up on food. I dutifully went to the store, expecting to see others pondering in the aisles how many cans of black beans would get us through. I was apparently alone in responding to Mr. Cherthoff’s call to action.
Then there was Katrina, and then a tsunami, followed by the film An Inconvenient Truth. Now we have Myanmar, China’s earthquake and who knows what… I’ve stopped worrying about it and am looking for ways to pitch in and make the world a better place, regardless of what happens!
As we experience anxiety and depression about the events that threaten our way of life these days, I try to remember that we’re all in this together and that suffering brings our spirits together. We have a choice: we can worry or we can accept that life comes with difficulties and take it as a good opportunity to get creative. I choose the latter and have decided that it’s best to learn to say yes to bad news and scary prospects. I sleep better as a result.
Time and again, it’s been shown that our community spirit benefits from hard times. And, thanks to the internet, at no time in history has the human species been so aware of the details of suffering from around the globe. I’ve become numb to the bad news. I know that an asteroid may obliterate us with no prior notice. I heard that the CERN particle accelerator may create a black hole this summer that will swallow the planet and surrounding planets in a blip. Never mind the dire climate predictions and nukes in the hands of terrorists. Pandemic flu will reduce society to dysfunction.
I put anxiety to good use. I believe we’re entering an era when we will find miraculous cooperation and generosity, coming forth from around the world. We will learn to sacrifice and volunteer for the public good. Our innate qualities of innovation will come up with solutions that we never expected to see. We will learn to interact as human beings, outside of the media.
When it comes to an asteroid, I didn’t create this planet or hovering asteroids. Who are we to try to prevent it, even if it were possible? Rather than cling to this idea of an eternal future of ever-increasing happiness or dire threat, I believe we can learn to appreciate the health and wealth we have in this eternal moment, on this perfect planet.