Hope - Joy - and Existential Dread

 My son was working on a - intro to himself paper for his teacher. Actually it was an odd poem form.  One of the lines was - Hope - Joy - Existential Dread.

It makes sense. Most of the time, he's pretty happy. Even though he hasn't seen his friends in person since - March! 

He's back in school - but only virtually. His friends that went back - didn't want to because - Covid - but he said they have a morbid humor about it. Apparently - they are all going to die from climate change - so why would it matter if they die a few years early. 

The adult in me - is horrified. Children should NOT be thinking like that. On the other hand - I remember doing duck and cover drills for nuclear war when I was a kid, living in Los Angeles, - ground zero. All our parents worked in aerospace. And I remember - every time we did a duck and cover drill how stupid it was because - while hiding under a desk can save us from an earthquake - it can't save us from disintegration.  My best friend Meghan and I agreed - if we heard the sirens go off for real (we had a noon test of the warning system daily), we would head to the beach and - die there. 

My son and his friends existential dread - is horrifying as a parent - but also - kind of normal when I think back on my childhood. 

I actually think my son's approach - that he is both hopeful and joyful and filled with existential dread - is just - normal for life.  Whoopie, We're all going to die! That predates me. So does - How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb. 

Should we worry about our children? Of course. But worrying about death is - to a certain extent normal and we all have to come to terms with our eventual mortality and be grateful for the time we do have. 

Living beats the alternative. 

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