We’ll all survive

Every hour, we’re reminded of instability.

We’re reminded of how life isn’t predictable. How every moment could change everything. How one breath could wreak havoc on the world, how under every step lies the chance of failure. Predictability is only reserved for math and computers. And even then, it’s not necessarily given.

Every day, we’re reminded of our own mortality. We know how short our time is, relatively. We worry endlessly about the trivial, and fret aimlessly about larger concepts we barely understand. We worry when it’s worthwhile, and we worry when it’s painless and simple. Yet, we never really latch on to the fact that the worry will never solve anything.

That, in most cases, there is someone out there who is already working on the problem, and that the result is out of our hands.

If you are within earshot of a television, or if you simply breeze over the front page of MSN on your way to Hotmail, you’ve no doubt caught wind of our nation’s – and the world’s – financial troubles. Markets sinking. Consumers refraining. The entire fabric of our economic system, threadbare and worn like the elbow of an old sweater, threatening to tear apart.

But maybe it’s not that big. Maybe you’re worried about an upcoming test. A project at work. Your overall standing in the grand scheme of things. The meaning of life.

It’s worry. It’s a crutch I fall upon. It’s the reason many of us stay awake at night, develop ulcers and drink coffee 23 hours a day.

One of my goals over the past several years is to worry less. Which means worrying less about Sierra’s ability to comprehend things above her age level. Worrying less about how successful I can become in my career. Worrying less about my image, about my favorite sports teams, about politics, about things I can barely control and ultimately change little in my life.

And so her I am, not worrying about this financial crisis. In fact, justifying it.

I hate the way I think, sometimes. I tell myself that this financial situation is self-correcting. That this is what we get for living a reckless life, for spending what we don’t have, for trusting the un-trustable. Yet, that’s exactly what I think. I see this as an opportunity to live more simply. To prepare for the worst. To save, damn it. To start saving again, like every one taught me in high school.

I’m fighting my own worry by being optimistic. At risk of sounding a little too “half-full” about the whole ordeal, it seems like we just need a dose of optimism. Even if it’s practical, life affirming optimism.

Listen – when it comes down to it, we’ll all survive. We may need to scale back a little. We may need to live within our means. Things might change. Or things might correct themselves.

But we’ll all survive this. Things won’t be exactly as they have been. But we’ll all survive.

We’ll all survive.

This was lovingly handwritten on October 6th, 2008