There’s that thing going around. It’s a feeling. It’s being transmitted by the TV, the newspaper headlines, magazine covers, etc. In fact, thanks to our new digital connectedness, it’s transmitted by those who matter to us via Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, IM updates, blogs, etc.
What’s being transmitted is bad news and what makes even more troublesome is the speed and relentlessness with which it follows us. Job losses are the most immediate and crushing. The numbers are in the hundreds of thousands and show no signs of abating. Online we get news of our friends and how they’ve been impacted. We hear about our states and municipalities and their dire fiscal conditions. Schools canceling classes, athletic programs, even just closing down. Heck, California is in such bad shape that they can’t even pay tax refunds right now. Unfortunately when you play it out, you see that it’s a domino effect. Home prices collapsing means that property taxes face the in-kind decline. Job losses mean that in addition to loss of payroll taxes, unemployment also gets collected. More money out, less money in. Yet the services of a government are set. So massive pain ensues. Then there is the macro news about insolvent banks, an increasing number of foreclosures, interest rates that might continue to rise, businesses that still can’t borrow, foreign powerhouses like Japan seeing a double-digit contraction in GDP and you can’t hide from the feeling. That feeling is despair. It’s when you’re not sure where the bottom is, and you don’t really know what to do to make things better.
On the other side of despair is that feeling of hope. Here was my dose on Saturday morning. It’s a great little article to read about how, in the midst of the horrid Australian fires, a firefighter comes upon a badly injured Koala bear. There’s video of the bear taking his hand in it’s paw, and drinking from a water bottle. Apparently, Koala’s rarely interact with humans. Then the story goes on about how another rescued Koala nursed this one and how they’d give each other hugs, etc. There’s awesome video to go with it. The feeling I got after reading this was simply transformative.
In the end this is what life is all about right? It’s the simple joys that have, throughout time, brought humanity happiness. It’s easy to forget it. Until you read the story of beings caring for each other and you remember why we’re here, and what it’s all about.
I know most people don’t need this. But I think there’s definitely a small population, like myself, who occasionally feel overwhelmed by the rawness of what’s going. The past few months have been a revelation for me in tuning out the noise and trying to focus on the basics of life that are timeless. With that, I’m going for a run along the ocean.