It's another year around the sun for me. Personally, I'm doing okay, but I can't help but feel that somehow, the world has gone radically wrong in the course of my lifetime. I was born during the apogee of the Space Age, but Flat Earthers not only remain among us, but seem to have a larger cultural presence that they would have a few decades ago. The problems of racism and misogyny haven't been solved, and again there seems to be a backlash against the gains made by women, people of color, and LGBTQ people. It's tough to pinpoint exactly when things started going wrong, but I lay much of the blame on Reagan, who cheerfully pushed the lie that government was the major problem in people's lives, and that unions were greedy institutions preventing Joe Schmo from becoming a millionaire. The demographic shifts that our country is experiencing are something I am comfortable with- I spent a lot of time in the Bronx as a kid, and when I lived in New Rochelle, NY, there was already a vibrant community of Mexican immigrants whose culture and language I came to love. While I was fully aware of our nation's questionable foreign policy in places like Latin America and the Middle East, being the sort of kid who started reading the newspaper in kindergarten (my mom loves to tell the story of the time I didn't want to go to a friend's birthday party at an amusement park because I had read about a ferris wheel accident in Durban, South Africa), the current cruelty is something I never would have predicted. Years ago, I still thought that the nation I grew up in was fundamentally good... I sure hope it is, and that the current shitshow is a temporary phase.
I wish I could say that the half-century I've spent on the planet was marked by progress, but I don't see it. Again, personally I am doing okay, I am surrounded by friends and a loving family, and I even work in a gorgeous place. I might be looking a little craggy lately, largely as a result of keeping horrendous hours, but generally speaking, life is good... I mean this is me at work:
It's a funny week, a lot of my friends and one of my uncles were born around this time of year- today marks the start of three days of celebrating birthdays. Sure, the promise of the era of my birth has been squandered on five decades of missed opportunities, wasted potential, but I'm doing okay, and the people around me are doing okay, and I am still optimistic enough to believe that we will be working to make things better. Things had better get better.