Thursday, November 1, 2007

A little Weltschmerz

It’s hard to watch my young adult children as they agonize over work and school, crying and cursing and breaking out in enormous zits as they stress over deadlines and exams and so on. Their worlds are still so black and white, so filled with sound and fury. And they don’t yet get that it signifies nothing, because they have not yet experienced the bizarre and alarming Time Warp phenomenon. You know what I mean: that thing where you close your eyes for a moment and when you open them, it’s 20 years later and you’re all, like, “Whoa! What just happened here?”

They have no perspective. They don’t know that there is really very little that matters enough to lose sleep over because they haven’t traveled far enough into the Big Picture. (Although I suppose it could be argued that their current worries are in fact significant because it could affect whether they open their eyes at age 40 and find themselves vacationing at a five-star resort on a beach in Cancun or in an old refrigerator box.)

The young simply can’t grasp the concept of “this, too, shall pass”. This is their now, and that’s all they know. As far as they’re concerned, they’re facing an endless now of math tests and Christmas albums that have to be mixed by Sunday. For them, the future is still some hazy, faraway utopia where they imagine everything will be easier and better. They find it scary having to make all these grown-up decisions; they still think that every one of them is life-or-death. They believe that with age comes wisdom. (Hah.) They see most older adults freaking out less about things and figure that’s because we actually know what we’re doing and that they will someday reach that point.

We don’t know what we’re doing. It’s just that we know that at least 90 per cent of the time, it really doesn’t matter. Also, we’re just too tired to care a whole heck of a lot.

In fact, pretty much the only thing we really worry and stress over…is our children. What a funny old world. Now excuse me; I must go get another cup of coffee so that I don’t doze off and suddenly wake up to find myself 137.

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