On Nihilism (and Christmas cookies)

December 20, 2016

So recently I came across this. It's an opinion piece, to be sure, but the fact that the author is expressing the opinion that the items on his list are scary AF doesn't make them any less true. Also I love that there are 13 of them. Nice touch.

 

I found "The 13 Impossible Crises That Humanity Now Faces" particularly interesting because I'm into lists. In fact, my life basically revolves around my to do lists. (Yes, I said lists.) Otherwise I'd probably spend all day immobilized by indecision (which, incidentally, is only partially kept at bay.) It's nice to have items to cross off as the world goes to shit, one horrible apocalypse at a time. I find that sense of completion satisfying for some reason. At least humanity's thorough, right?

 

Since the election,  I've (mostly) kept my head down, focusing on my kids, and on making the holidays great for them. Maybe I'm being irresponsible for that. I know I struggle with survivor's guilt, simply because I have the means to have a holiday at all. The nihilist in me (and yes, there's definitely a nihilist in there) just wants to curl into a ball and cry  about the fact that everything is pointless anyway and we're all headed toward extinction. Having kids suggests a sense of hope about the world that I just don't possess at the moment. 

 

And it's s not like I keep them in the dark. My 18-year old is a voting adult now; we talk A LOT about what's going on in the world, and about the power and responsibility of good citizenship.  I turn on the evening news every night, and even the youngest (almost 6) watches it with us; they see Aleppo and the fallout from the election and the collapsing environment and all the other depressing stories. I don't hide it from them.

 

At the same time, though, I feel like I have to make a real effort to give them happy memories; to make the world a little less shitty, at least for a few years, at least inside these four walls.

 

So we make Christmas cookies. We watch goofy animated Christmas TV shows. We decorate and drive around looking at lights and singing carols. Maybe it's fiddling while Rome burns, but there's a reason the band played on. There are days when the darkness in the world feels as if it will crush me, but it's a world we still have to live in; it's the world my kids will inherit, for better or for worse.

 

Nothing good ever comes from giving up.

 

Happy Holidays.

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