My future is looking a bit bleak at the moment. I’m sure a lot of that has to do with the tinted glasses I’m wearing – I’m so focused on the negatives, it’s hard to see the positives. So what’s the answer?
I really don’t know the answer, I just know I have to keep moving forward. That’s all I’ve got. And for years that’s all I’ve had. For better or for worse, I just have to keep moving forward, because there’s simply no other choice. Just keep moving forward.
I’m reading an incredible book right now about life in North Korea. It follows the lives of several people starting in the 1970s. I’m up to about 1998 now and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I know they survive only because they live to tell their stories, but as I read about the famine, about how these people beg and steal, how they eat grass and tree bark and unidentifiable food-type items, how they choose between antibiotics to save a son’s life or food for the family, it feels like a different world. It is not as if I think there aren’t hungry people in the world, but I’ve never heard first-person accounts like this. These people went from having three meals a day to not eating for days at a time in the course of just a year or two. They watched their loved ones starve to death in front of them. They describe malnourished children with distended stomachs, adults with flaking skin, and I start to cry. And then I wonder how long I would have survived.
Forget my health problems. Obviously that would affect things. But aside from that, would I have made it? Or would I have been one of the first to go? I have a steely resolve. I have a strong survival instinct. I know this. I also know that I would want to help others, that I would hesitate to steal or cheat. But maybe in this circumstance that wouldn’t be true? I can’t imagine it, and I would guess that no one can. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you’re forced to find out. Still, right now, I don’t know that I’d make it. At the time of that famine I was a teenager, happily going to school, hanging out with friends, dating, researching colleges. That girl might have actually done ok. I was even more stubborn then than I am now, and somehow I think I might have been ok for the early years. Still, I can not imagine how they survived it.
So even though I am depressed and overwhelmed by the potential problems of the near (and long-term) future, I know that I have to summon my strength. I come from a long line of stubborn folks. My grandparents have survived an awful lot, and much of it seems to be by shear force of will. My mother amazes me with the obstacles she overcomes. I have that same stubbornness in me. It’s time to use it. I am not facing war or famine. Hard as my problems may be, it is really only my own inner demons that I have to fear. So I just have to remember: keep moving forward. There’s no other choice. Just keep moving forward.
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