Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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I've been feeling a bit down on several levels, lately. I'm pretty sure that one is a midlife crisis that has a lot to do with the baby boom generation, where there was an implied promise that if you work hard and try to do the right things, that your life will somehow be doing pretty well, by the time you're in midlife. Another part is a kind of "future shock" component (does anyone even use that term any more?). And then there's the folks-dropping-like-flies component. All of these are part of some implied contract with the 20th century. Not the 21st (welcome to the brave new world), the 20th. Prosperity, optimism, medical advances, the lot.

I want to know why I changed the cynical outlook of my teens and actually bought into this. Back then, I really did expect a long, hard struggle, more like the science fiction view of the future that I was reading at the time. I expected us to have trashed the environment more thoroughly, that Big Brother would be even more entrenched, that people would be living in a greatly leveled (read "impoverished") playing field, and we might all die of radiation poisoning or environmental toxins. But maybe I changed when the Cold War ended, or some such thing. Some background program bought into the promise of the American Dream.

Now I look around and things are more like I visualized in the late '60's. Maybe not quite as bad, but not great, either. And whenever I mutter about things, I keep reminding myself that I'm doing a lot better than so many of my friends. I still have a job. I have a house. I haven't gotten much ahead, but I've managed, despite a divorce that left me in a deep financial hole, and a nasty IRS bill from the fallout of the tech crash. (That last one was just stupid. My father, who lost everything in the Depression, always told me to regard stocks as about as much of an investment as betting the ponies, but did I listen? And I still own stocks. Hmmm.) I can mutter that my finances are stretched thin, but I did that to myself by buying a new car recently, and not one of the venerable clunkers I've contented myself with for decades. (Ooh, an American Dream component, a brand-NEW car!) I'm doing pretty well, all things considered. Enough I've been able to do things like help unemployed friends keep a roof over their heads, in several cases.

So I try to constantly remind myself of everything I have to be grateful for, the things that are good. The glass may not be full, but it's sure a long way from being empty. The level goes up and down, but it's never been bumping close to empty. This is good.

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