There, there. Settle down. Hold my hand. Breathe in. Hold for 4 seconds. (1, 2, 3, 4) And let it out. It will be okay. This is not the end of the world!
With a pandemic paralyzing global activity, a swarm of fires coating California, a compromised American democracy, and the resurgence of the Bubonic Plague (seriously 2020?!), life can feel a little bit overwhelming sometimes. The hyperbolic nature of news media and apocalyptic theories swarming the internet merely fuels the sense of impending doom. These jarring transformations are quite difficult to digest; prior to 2020, the world was gliding on a relatively stable track of time. However, if history has taught us anything, these pockets of peace are quite ephemeral, dissolving into chaos practically overnight.
Rewind to 1929, when a stock market collapse rendered global economies completely destitute. Over 4,000 banks and lenders failed, while millions of American families were left without income, relying on food banks for sustenance. Less than 100 years ago, our world was completely rocked by an economic catastrophe. Many people believed there was no end in sight, and unfortunately, took their own lives. But government stimulus and WWII heaved the American economy out of stagnancy, and reinvigorated the rapid pace of life.
So, why do I bring up the Great Depression during a global pandemic? While the two scenarios are quite different, the shockwave of despair features alarming similarities. Human beings simply don’t like cataclysmic changes, for obvious reasons. The uncertainty and fear weighs heavily on our psyche, ultimately bending reality to match our weary vision. As tragedy after tragedy mounts upon an unfolding timeline, we cannot help but feel utterly hopeless. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? When will these apocalyptic conditions finally come to an end?
I dearly wish I could provide you with a definitive answer. However, we are all humans, and subject to the same ambiguous, unpredictable timeline. But my history lessons have taught me that it does get better. We are in the midst of horrendous hardship, witnessing unprecedented suffering on a minute-by-minute basis. Our media is hell-bent on counting every curse; it remains the job of the individual to treasure the blessings.
And though they may be temporarily out of view, there are many, many blessings. While the cyclical tides of history wax and wane with the passage of time, humanity ardently persists. This is not the apocalypse, or the end of days. This is life, in its fragmented uncertainty, unveiling the delicate nature of stability. Descended in this chaotic abyss, I challenge you to reach inside, and muster that untapped courage and strength. You will make it through this. The present moment is destined to become a memory. For now, all we can do is cling onto hope, and remember that now is not forever.
Written by: Brianna Rauchman