Prove a Mayan wrong

The world was supposed to end on my birthday. You know — the Mayans and their calendar. December 21, 2012 to be exact.

Kaput. Kaboom!

Obviously, it didn’t. We’re still here complaining on Facebook about the world. But you have to wonder — did the Mayans mean something else? It seems like everything is out of synch. Like someone took a plugwire off existence’s engine. We’re sputtering and backfiring. The world seems to be getting coarser and meaner.

Of course, the world has always been coarse and mean. World War 2 wasn’t exactly a bucket of chuckles. And the Black Plague. I could fill the page with moments in history that are worse than what we’re going through right now.

So why does’ it seem so bad? Here are a few of my thoughts.

There are more of us. The earth’s population has exploded. If you don’t believe me, drive in Atlanta at rush hour. There has to be a billion people on I-285. We’re crowded and we’re up in each others’ grills.

We are now better connected. People have always gotten cancer, had heart attacks, been in car wrecks and suffered other horrible calamities. We now have a voyeur’s front row seat. Facebook allows us to be connected — for better or worse. We know what people are going through. That can be good — and it can also wear us out.

The Internet has disrupted so many of our institutions. Historians will look back and find the times we live in to be as epic of a change as say the Industrial Revolution. Media, music and video have all been affected and are having to reinvent themselves on the fly. People get their information from different sources. Fake news is real and I’m not talking about news a politician doesn’t like. People can now bask safely in news bubbles; it’s a mental comfort zone if you will.

So many of our institutions have failed us. Look back to 2008. The banks failed. The long-standing tradition of buying a home and having it be your financial nest egg failed. Churches have had scandals. Government is, well, government. Monied interests are getting heard as the middle class dies out with a silent scream.

A lot of us (me included at times) did not learn good coping skills growing up. Our grandparents ate dirt and fought a World War. We complain on Facebook (in Facebook’s defense, we also post great pictures of puppies and kitties.)

Whew, I know — not exactly a perky post. I’m sorry. But here is the thing. WE can make a difference. My family has had to face some things that frankly, I’d have preferred not to deal with. But while I can’t control that, I can control how I react to everything. It’s hard to get up and run when you’ve been knocked down. But that’s what life is about. Next time you walk down the sidewalk, take a close look at the weed that has punched its way through the concrete. The will to live is strong in us. We have to set it free.

Change is hard. I know. I’m having to change even as I write this. But if we remember there is something bigger than us out there, that this isn’t always about ourselves, that we can help others and receive what we need — well, that change will seem less frightening.

Oh yeah, and for Godsakes, laugh. And love. At the end of the day, that’s the ultimate cure for it all.

Just go out and prove a Mayan wrong, OK?

About Marshall Ramsey