29 May

 Memorial day, 2023. 

Seems the ”pandemic” has come and gone. The world isn’t scorching, or drowning; the “political situation” has simmered down considerably. Racism has ended, and all of the refugees are home.

 What???!?! … no, not really!! Just kidding. But I’m here to tell you, the private world of the average schmo in middle New Jersey is nowhere near as consumed by such topics as it was a year or two ago.  Years ago, I used to look around and think: “sheesh, the stuff that occupies our minds … we could really use a disaster to wake us up ….” … but I didn’t REALLY mean it.

Then, a disaster came. And another, and another … and sure enough, we woke up. But how resilient is the human mind, if it is not inhabiting a body that is actively threatened, or starving, or worried about homelessness!

I do have conversations with people who do remark about this phenomenon: the “forgetting” of all we could talk about for a while. Everyone is rushing all over the place again, none of the kids have time to sleep, no one eats dinner together like they were in 2020 ... although it wasn’t hard to predict, we’re still not really sure what to make of it. It seems depressing on the one hand, and proof of resilience on the other.                           Meaning: it is discouraging that we haven't consciously and consistently kept alive the significance of so many truly earth shaking world events. It’s seemingly easy to forget about what once seemed momentous, to return to preoccupation with what seems "trivial" (such as figuring out how to take care of your kids when your mind has a mind of its own or your body won’t cooperate; or how to live as a sane/sober person when everything conspires against that; or how to feel “free” as a human while facing a huge risk of loss .. of family, of money, of protection. Trivial, like that.) 

On the other hand, a signal feature of really uncomfortable psychological conditions, such as chronic depression, PTSD and schizophrenia, is an inability to move out of negative, upsetting or scary psychic states. So it is most definitely a mark of health and resilience to not remain bogged down with such.

On the third hand, how are we supposed to make our larger world better if we can't seem to hold in our minds what the problems are for long enough to really do anything to fix them?  This is a question for which we don't seem to have an answer. We do think it's worth posing.

And also ...... I'm exaggerating. Change comes long and slow, even if the spark is sudden and violent. If I look more closely, the concerns are closer to home, but the context has changed, most definitely. In truth, we've not forgotten.  What's slowly emerging is kind of a fuzzy question: what do we do now??

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