Coming of Age Amid Depression 2.0

I feel as though it would be redundant to say that “The world is a scary place to live in today,” because such has been the case for as long as I can remember. But it is in the context of those past periods of fear and insecurity, that I look at what is going on in the world today as being particularly frightening. Perhaps that has something to do with my full awareness of the world as it existed then, as compared to now.

I’ve heard people remark on the fearlessness of children (and youth as a whole). It seems that we adults have to develop that level of fear and uncertainty over time, it is something we necessarily learned. This was underscored earlier today as I watched Maury counsel single parent moms and their unruly teenage daughters. I was bothered by what are clearly bigger issues troubling these young women, but also awed by the sheer audacity that these young girls demonstrated – showing no care for the opinions of anyone but themselves, and convinced that reaching their teens was in some way indicative of them finally being “grown.” Ultimately, and with a degree of predictability, Maury offers these women an old school remedy of culture shock; sending the young women to be “scared straight” by women inmates at a nearby prison.

As much as I am a little tickled at the sight of felons screaming in the faces of their would be-teenage protégés, I’ve seen it time and time again(yawn…Sally Jesse Raphael, Montell, I’m sure they’ve all had a special). And I know there are alternative forms of rehabilitation. Perhaps a multi-step program? A mentor… something?

That is neither here nor there, the point is…while I was in no way an “unruly teen,” like those girls I was overwhelmingly consumed with the trivialities of my immediate life. And because I didn’t have to worry about finding a job that would adequately support me and allow me to functionally cover all of my expenses, I wasn’t totally aware of what was going on around me.

No one could overlook the shock, awe and fear produced by the September 11th attacks and subsequent anthrax scares. But I don’t think I fully grasped the magnitude to which it scared the adults in my life. Despite it all, I applied to do a semester in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill, amid the intensified security, and while folks were still on the look out for suspicious mail. I opened the mail EVERY DAY.

That said, I realized that I’ve arrived at adulthood. I am scared about the economy, I can barely afford gas (among other necessities as a resident of California. I want to do something about the floods that hit New Orleans. That help is long overdue and our government has been absolutely NEGLIGENT about dealing with it. And I worry about the status of our nation as tornadoes hit middle America and scenes like those from New Orleans now plague more and more of our citizens. The sad part is, I fear that these new catastrophes will overshadow the plight of New Orlean-ians, and that the work that needs to get done, will continue to be delayed.

Depressing? Mmm… slightly, but it’s real.

My next step? ...Well... another lesson we learn as adults… avoidance. I am going to get back to thinking about the things my heart and mind can stomach pondering. On a less avoid-ant tip, I will focus on the things I can do to affect change, and knock those micro issues down until I can put my bid in for what we need to do on a macro level.

1 comment:

  1. When I saw depression in the title of this entry, I thought psychological, which is what a lot of people are talking about today, as if it's completely unrelated to these political problems. I think we need to connect one depression with the other...I for one think that I do not suffer from "clinical depression" (unlike so many people I know) because I am thinking about issues in the world. If we don't have some idea of society and what it's doing we are lost in every way.


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