As the world turns we have always had decades of war, pogroms, famine and fascism. I’m reminded of the worst-ever episode of my childhood: the odd-even gas lines. Can you imagine, children of the 60’s, that being the harshest thing? Now the chaos seems biblical: border patrol paranoia, astronomical healthcare costs, malignant narcissist liar president, global warming, not to mention terrorism, gun violence and having to get stuck in a parking lot for $3.00 after you spent $250. Yes, there are always things to worry about.
Whenever I hear about something tragic I throw up my hands and say, “What is this world coming to?” My daughter gets so mad. As if I am giving up. Daughter, I say, I am not giving up. I’m just exasperated.
In my practice there is no real end to the level of trauma that walks through (this week alone there was rape and death and sickness beyond measure). This is why I have shored up my meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and DBT skills. People need all the support they can get. I can’t imagine starting college as my kids are right now. My college years were filled with little angst and a lot of creative writing. You didn’t worry about loans, jobs or finding a mate. Naturally we didn’t just sit around singing kumbaya all the time either. But there was a balance. My favorite band played at Mayfest (Crosby, Stills, Nash) and the atmosphere wasn’t polluted with guns and check points, maybe just the smell of incense here and there. I once ate a pot brownie and was hungry for three days. That was the worst of it. Yes there were break-ups and divorce and airplanes that fell out of the sky, but they were the exception, not the rule. No one ghosted. Phones were not a thing.
When I say the world is chaos I mean the PTSD in my office and on TV. I mean the drone of the leaf blower. I mean people who are becoming mean spirited and hostile. I mean kids trying newer and more alarming drugs. I mean the scourge of boredom on young people. I mean not being able to go to college because of financial barriers. We have to do better for the next generation. Elizabeth Warren gets it right when she crafts a plan and sticks to it. Bernie gets it right when he demands adequate healthcare for all. Buttigieg gets it right when he speaks of inclusion and Harris/Booker are on point with the prison-industrial nightmare and racism, xenophobia, gun control and anti-semitism.
Let’s get it together guys. Here are some happiness take-aways from other countries.
“The Global Emotions survey ranks South American countries at the top of the list. Conversely the World Happiness survey ranks Scandinavian countries highly. If you combine the results of both surveys in 2019, Canada and Iceland end up being the “happiest” countries, and not Finland or Denmark, which have grabbed the most headlines due to the popularity of the World Happiness Report. So much depends on the definition of happiness.”
If they can do it, why can’t we? Either we all go to Finland, or we try harder. It’s not that shocking.