I’ve never been so good at the whole relentless optimism thing. So I’ll just come out and admit it: I’m feeling pretty anxious these days. It’s an odd twinge in my gut telling me that—despite the assurances from economists who swear up and down that “these things are cyclical”—that the present situation feels more “cyclone” than “cycle.”
Who among us can honestly keep a smile plastered on when the earth is heaving so mightily underfoot?
Oh, I know, I know, I’m supposed to keep a laser focus on solutions. It’s the only productive response to all this. There’s no shortage of good ideas out there, important goals to work toward, and, thank god, at least one gushing firehose of hope to sip from.
But can I propose we ditch the talking points for a moment, and allow ourselves to feel terrified.
Because the current “correction” feels more like a sudden and dramatic contraction, a massive pandemic stitch, the first few nanoseconds of a star going supernova. It’s the sound of a paradigm breaking. Let’s call our associated collective “oh-shit” response what it is, folks: collapse anxiety.
If there’s wiggle room to feel good here, it’s knowing that we’ll emerge on the other side with a much-improved society. It has to get worse before it can get vastly better. Like the prez says, “we will rebuild” and make something much better, a place of greater understanding, sensitivity, awareness, happiness. A place where we define prosperity based on something other than profit. We’ll get there. But there’s no harm, I’d argue, in a good scream on the way down.