Surreal disconnect

Dear President Trump,

It’s been two months today since our brother-in-law (BIL) died but it feels like we were just in the ICU with him a few days ago, hoping he could go quickly because he was in so much pain. I still feel unsettled and generally exhausted, though I’m not sure how much causal weight to give to BIL’s death and how much to attribute it to other things, like our daughter being away at college, having stopped eating all meat, and a pretty unrelenting work load. Plus, there’s the omnipresent drag/drain of you and my sense that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. I’ve been trying to pace myself better and have been getting about an hour more sleep at night. It’s helping some, but by the afternoon, I just want to take a nap.

I haven’t put myself in a news blackout (yet). I think it would up my anxiety too much, but I’ve been making a really conscious effort to read the art blogs I like and to take more walks in the evening so that I’m not glued to the news. I don’t feel any more energized by this, but have been a bit less obsessed and frantic.

Lately, though, in talking with various young people (like in their late 20’s to mid-30’s, so younger than me but not super young), I’ve noticed that many (most?) are diligently looking away from what is happening. It’s making me really, really nervous. These are the people who will be having kids in the not too distant future and who will have to cope with a horribly damaged planet in their middle ages. I know it’s not possible to function and have any semblance of ok-ness if one is going around as if one’s hair is on fire all the time, but the blithe attitude of “let’s act like things are normal” is too much. At least for me.

Maybe it’s this surreal disconnect between what’s happening to the country and to the world and life going along mostly like normal for me and so many others that’s so incredibly exhausting for me. I don’t at all wish this, but in some ways it seems like it would be easier to square everything if Seattle were hit by a big climate change related storm or wildfires; at least then routine life would clearly be disrupted and the impact would not be ignorably abstract.

May we be safe from passivity.
May we be willing to see the scary changes even if they aren’t affecting us directly.
May we find healthy ways to cope and to engage.
May we not make peace as the water in the pot creeps closer to the boiling point.

Tracy Simpson

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