Today, I was going to post a lovely article about the dos and don’ts of book cover design, but the world is on fire and it seems like a silly thing to write about when I’m cheerfully beating back a wave of existential dread.
Currently, my county is on lockdown—but I’m still at work. I’d go into the details of why but I can’t right now. It’s complicated, and I’ve got my reasons and, given the whispers of layoffs around the country, I think they’re justified. Non-essential businesses are closed (as long as they are public-facing), bars and restaurants are limited to takeout only, schools are shuttered, and the only establishments left open for public access are grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies. So, no celebrating my husband’s 40th birthday with a few friends and a murder mystery. No going to D&D nights and attempting to reign in my chaotic neutral character as she flings herself from one bad idea to another. No visits from out-of-town family.
But also, no virus spreading beyond the capacity of our healthcare. So, yay?
The stocks are tanking. Though, I know it hurts the little guy, I also take some sick satisfaction from imagining an uberwealthy person, somewhere, sweating their balls off with fear that they might lose a buck from their billions. Because, that would really hurt, right?
I’ve grown probably too fascinated by the idea of an economic collapse which would shake the 1% to their core, to the point they practice conscious capitalism, but we all know the truth. I mean, we rode this pony together in 2008. Things would just go back to normal, and the only people to suffer are the same people who’ve suffered for the last 30 years with stagnant wages and increased inflation and the ever growing cost of housing, childcare, and education.
The other day my husband and I joked that, if I were a politician, I would essentially be what would happen if Elizabeth Warren and Thanos had a baby. It both pleased and terrified me.
In truth, my desire to burn the whole damn system down—especially in these times of crisis—comes from things like the Fed pouring 1.5 Trillion dollars (conveniently the exact amount which would eradicate student debt) into a stock market that only gives the illusion of benefiting the average person.
“You may, by the skin of your teeth, retire one day, if you give all the spare money you don’t have to these wealthy people to place bets in your name!”
I was raised in the deep south, by a heavily republican family, and considered myself a republican at one time long ago, but now I lean heavily democratic socialist/grudgingly restrained anarchist with every passing year I see poor people get poorer and rich people get richer and the divide grow—while a select Media (looking at you, Fox News) brainwashes an entire political group into thinking their lives are worst because of brown people and Liberals and not because of the people who own their conglomerate. Honestly, my father would disown me if he were alive to hear that.
I’ve lived most of my life in a state of constant existential dread, waiting for the other shoe to drop with each new situation, until recently, when my father died, and I realized the world is unpredictable and, yet, completely coded to follow a set of basic rules. Empires rise and fall. Jobs come and go. People live and die. Economies are like roller coasters—they go up and come down, and the only person who really benefits is the one who built the coaster, not the people riding it.
So, I’ve learned to roll with the punches, and this has worked very well for the last two years. I would say it’s blind, cheerful ignorance, but I’m reading all the news and watching and listening, and I know the world is shit and on fire and the planet’s burning while we choose between two old white men who won’t live to see the error of their ways in thirty years. Which, by the way, will be 2050—when we’re slated to need two planet’s worth of resources to maintain our overgrown population. And, in case you’re wondering how you get two planet’s worth of resources out of one planet, the answer is, you don’t.
I know the world is bad and will get worse because that seems to be both the American way and the human condition at this point. But, I also see the good and I’ve chosen to focus on it. I’ve chosen to grasp every strand of minute pleasantness I can and divert all my attention to it. I have a home. A husband. A job. I can pay my bills. I can focus on gardening and watching mindless tv and writing crazy fantasy novels and spoiling my dog. I can block the blackness of this crumbling, mad world, for the most part…
But, God damn, it’s hard when everything is shutting down like a cluster of well-placed dominos kicked over by an arrogant child.
Anyway, this is a long way of saying, if you too are struggling with a twinge of existential dread, here’s some helpful links (I hope):
- Coping with Existential Anxiety
- How to Stay Calm When the World is In Chaos
- How to be Happy When the World Makes You Depressed
- 4 Ways to Start a Revolution by WikiHow (mostly for the funsies)