Living in an Age of Anxiety

It’s hard to turn on CNN or any news channel and go 5 minutes without stories of hate, shootings, terrorism, and the doom and gloom of our modern world.  When people talk about millennials, it is usually about their work ethic and pop culture.  I am a “cusp millennial.”  The tragedies of 9/11 occurred during my first month away at college.  My entire adult life is littered with violent attacks, new manifestations of race inequality, enemies of every culture at every corner, and the reality that the world is a much smaller place than it was when I was a child.  This is not meant to be a depressing post.  This is just reality.  This is the reality of living in what I call the Age of Anxiety.

 

1. It’s OK to be Confused.

How is this happening?  Something has ignited in the world.  But, it is surreal in many ways.  How could this all be happening the way it is?  It is OK to be confused and in a state of shock.  It is OK to be in a state of fatigue from the world tragedies that are taking place, both in our own communities and across boarders.  It is not OK to ignore it.

2. It’s OK to be Angry.

Are you angry, then why?  What are you angry at?  If you aren’t angry, why aren’t you angry?  This is not a matter of “who” to be angry at.  Anger is not about finding someone to blame, but that is usually what happens.  Anger is about knowing something has to change and finding the root cause.  It is OK to be pissed off that some days the sky seems to be falling.  What we choose to do with our anger comes from our faith in humanity, in one another, and in a future better than the headlines we have before us.

3. Disengage with Emotional Rhetoric.

There is always a target and a scape goat.  The world, and our country, is in a state of continual mourning and war.  Our world is our responsibility.  It is easy to let our confusion, anger, and sadness fall into the trap of emotional rhetoric.  That is a band aid on a bullet wound, and it fuels the fire we don’t want burning in the first place.

4. Talk to The People You Love & Have a Plan in Case of Emergency.

Remember the days where you needed a fire drill so your family knew how to get out of the house? Or so your school knew how to exit the building?  The Orlando shootings and Paris attacks should be a wake up call.  You need a plan to contact the people you love and know how to find one another in the case of an emergency.  If you live in a  major metropolitan, it is vital to have the calm talk with your partner, spouse, and family about what to do in the case of an emergency.  This may feel alarmist, but it doesn’t have it be.  It is about preparedness.  Have an honest talk with the people you love.  They may have the same questions and fears.  Make sure your kids know where to go in an emergency and make sure you and your partner know how to find one another if a cell tower if jammed.  Is this the new normal?  Unfortunately.  Time to manage it and have honest conversations about it.

5. Live Life.  That’s What Life is Meant for.

The world is not coming to an end.  Life is what we make it.  The world is what we allow it to be.  There are injustices and pain, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change it.  In the meanwhile, you have to keep living your life.  Don’t live in fear.  Don’t live anxiously.  Just live and live with perspective of the world you are in.

 

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