Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Ramblings of a 40-Year-Old Insomniac

If you're anything like me, you're lying awake most nights worried about the state of the world.

Now, I am a worrier by nature - if there isn't something right in front of me to worry about, my mind will run circles until it finds something.  This can include the big ones: money, health, kids, whether or not my next book will sell or I'll just be a one hit wonder without a hit, and the fact that I'm still awake so I know I'll be tired in the morning which will keep me awake for at least an extra hour.

If I've gone through all of the biggies, then I can turn to the small stuff:  When can I fit in an eyebrow wax?  I need to remember to make an appointment to get the dog's nails clipped.  I've got to remember to get the kids' hair cut this week.

Now that I think about it, a lot of my small worries involve personal maintenance of some sort.

Anyway, last night I found myself lying awake and thinking of the state of the world and that's enough to make anyone an insomniac.  This was after I'd watched John Oliver's take on Donald Trump (or Drumfp as we should all be calling him) which was somewhat funny, but also scary at the same time.

I've never heard a comedian have such a high note of hysteria in his voice.

I know I'm not alone in thinking this is one of the scariest elections I've ever witnessed in my lifetime. The truth is that there have probably been scary elections since the beginning of American history, but social media and the fact that the news doesn't have to be right to be news makes this all the more terrifying.

I think many of us are sitting back and thinking this isn't really happening.  But it is.  And I will be the first to admit that I don't know what to do about it.

So many people joke about moving to Canada (like Canada wants us) and I've even said that to my kids.  But the truth is that the world is so small now that we really can't get away from the mistakes of any country. 

And that's the scariest thought of all.


Of course, this would be my big worry.  The smaller worry last night (let me see...I think this kicked in at around 12:30 AM) was not the state of the union...but the state of the kids I see around me.

Many times I gauge the changes in the world by what has happened since my husband passed.  I know that's weird, but I do sit and think about the things he hasn't been alive to see and wonder what he would be thinking about them.

I know that he would have embraced the explosion of new technology, but I think he would have hated all of the things that have developed with it.

I guess I just need to say what I'm thinking.

We are raising the most narcissistic generation this planet has ever seen.

My kids are somewhat guilty of being this way, but I don't feel like they're high on the scale.  We still have conversations at the dinner table and can sit through a movie without someone glancing at a phone.  My oldest daughter has informed me - THANK GOD - that she thinks it's uncool (do kids still say that word?) to post more than one picture a day on social media so, therefore, her feed on Instagram is pretty slow.
Of course, she's still Snapchatting away which apparently means you have to take a picture every time you text.

REALLY? What a nightmare.  I'm still trying to find the right emojis for my mood (which usually involves that woman doing the Tango.  I don't know why).  I can't imagine trying to take a picture to go along with that. 

Our kids have to know what everyone thinks of everything fifty times a day.  I think it's hard enough to know what my mother thinks once a day - I don't want to know what a gaggle of strangers thinks of the meal I'm eating or my current duck face.  

And I know that every parent out there is doing their best to raise kids to be independent, empowered (that's this generation's 5 cent word), and not care what people think.

While we simultaneously arm them with devices and programs that are designed to find out in an instant what EVERYONE thinks.

How heartbreaking.

For those of you who are in my age bracket (40ish) can you imagine how horrifying it would be to have this kind of technology when we were our kids' ages???  I don't know about you, but I was insecure enough.  This crap would have sent me over the edge.

The funny thing (or not so funny thing) is that we're raising a generation of kids who are much like the politicians we're so fearful of this election:  If they post something and someone doesn't like it, they'll likely either change their post to appease others or engage in some sort of combative behavior in order to get their point across.  They must know at all times what the world thinks of them.  There is no such thing as privacy anymore because we all operate in a public forum.  Our kids' thoughts, work, play, location, likes and dislikes can be accessed at all times.  And they don't know any different.

My God.  What have we done?

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