What if Al Gore was elected President in 2000. That’s a big one for me. Would there be healthcare for all or student loan forgiveness? Would we be marching toward the extinction of animals? Would women finally have maternity leave? I think about my children. Would they have had to witness fewer school shootings? Could they count on free and fair elections and a balanced Supreme Court?Β Would they have hopes and dreams that weren’t dashed by fear and What If’s?
I remember when my oldest went to Kindergarten. She said, “What if I can’t find the bathroom!?” Or when my youngest now says, “What if I don’t like college?! ” Or me, the endless, “What if I didn’t study psychology or didn’t meet my husband? What if our plane falls out of the sky? What if my kids have an accident?” (God Forbid).
So what if you didn’t have social media? What if you and your friends just hung out for a while without checking your phones? What if parents didn’t have to work so much and they could spend more time with their families? What if school started later? What if we didn’t need “trigger warnings?” What if you actually got eight hours of sleep a night? What if you had lunch with wine and cheese like they do in France? What if you took a two hour nap at lunch time like they do in China? What if there were no State Tests? Free Range parenting, I like it. Or as my favorite psychologist Lisa Damour says, “When you are not with us, you are in charge of yourself. Weβre here if you need help, but we will not monitor you because we cannot, at a distance, protect you from the choices you make.”
What if all the teens weren’t spiraling out of control, living in fear, vaping, sexting, ghosting? Of course “The Times They Are a’ Changin’,” (Bob Dylan) – they always do. What was so great about the baby boom or the great depression or gordon gekko? We will always have our share of heartache, as my father reminds me. But let’s dial it back for a few hours a day and come back to who we are: kind, gentle, peace-loving people, who cherish our values, who want to do good, who agree on a few of the ten commandments, the judeo-christian or buddhist or even the American Indian credos of looking ahead “seven generations” to forge lasting public policies. Let’s all try to get along. What if I fail at this blog? Well at least I tried…
This is a list of thoughts from my clients who remind me daily what is truly important:
1. Don’t let work overtake you.
2. It’s just anxiety.
3. Have a backbone.
4. Be true to your friends.