I remarked tonight to Susan that my mom was going to be 91 years old on Tuesday . . . an amazingly long life. She responded that I had good genes and I would live to be that old too. "I hope not," I said. "The world is going to be in terrible shape by then." She simply said . . . "Things are going to keep on going on." And that, brothers and sisters, pretty well summarizes the two of us. I'm cursed, she's blessed. I'm cursed with a psyche that won't let me let go of all these "big" concerns. Susan, blessed be her beautiful heart, is anchored in the right here, right now. She worries about whether the grandkids are gonna have a good time at whatever they're doing. She's in the immediate, always. That's the way she thinks; that's the way she loves.
I'm much more drifty . . . I worry about the grandkids, too, and my own kids, for that matter. But I worry about the kind of world they are going to inhabit. There are so many troubles, so many problems that seem positively insoluble. Hell, they are everywhere you look. The change of climate and its already-perceptible effect on the global weather patterns; the economic crisis which seems to bode worse every day, despite what our leaders tell us; the gross disparity of the share of the world's bounty among nations and people; our broken political system; the rise of the rule of plutocrats across the world; the persistence of war and our country's worship of it; our wretched educational system that gets worse every year; water crises in parts of the US and in large parts of the world; a global population that is too large for the planet to sustain now and which will add another 2 billion people by mid-century. I worry about humanity's endless capacity for cruelty, greed, and savagery. About its insistence on murdering other people who don't share their religious beliefs. And so on and on.
It's not that I spend all my time in contemplation of these things. I'm just making the point that it's a curse to contemplate these things even part of the time every day, which I certainly do. There are too many of them. It's too much. Overwhelming. And it's an exercise in futility, as Susan so gently reminds me.