What the hell is up with 2010? And will it ever end?
This has been the worst year of my life. I guess those who were there to see the trainwreck that was 1988 might argue that it was marginally worse, but the point is that this year has sucked from the outset. It began with the collapse of my marriage. Which led, as you might expect, to extraordinary amounts of depression, self-recrimination, loneliness, etc. Then it kind of kept getting worse.
But it’s not just me. I look at the lives of the people close to me, and extreme stress is an all-too-dominant theme. For instance:
- A close friend who happens to be one of the brightest guys I know got fired from his job last year. He recently hit the one-year-on-the-beach mark without anything that looks like a realistic prospect. He has a special-needs child and you can imagine the financial and insurance implications associated with that here in the Land of Plenty®. If this guy is having trouble finding a gig, I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is on the 99% of unemployed Americans who aren’t as talented as he is.
- Another good friend has been out of work for awhile, too. Completely different field, but he’s hard-working and off-the-charts smart. Literally. Oh, yeah – he’s recently been battling a worsening case of diabetes.
- A woman I know has, after too many years of simply not being happy, finally left her marriage. Her family, unfortunately, has been unsupportive to the point of hostility, making you wonder how they got to be so passionately invested in the continued misery of their loved one.
- A guy I’ve known since the LBJ administration has recently discovered that his wife has been having an affair. For several years. He’s as good-hearted a guy as you’re likely to meet and this is brutally hard on him.
- Someone very close to me has recently had the wheels fall off. Much of it is self-inflicted, I suppose, but she comes from a family with a strong history of alcoholism on both sides of the tree. Her marriage (with kids) is now in jeopardy and as I type she’s in a rehab facility trying desperately to get control of her demons.
- Not long ago I had a friend in the throes of severe personal crisis explain the previous weekend, spent with a revolver against her head trying to decide whether to pull the trigger.
- Some others in my general circle are confronting mental illness and significant family problems. Career issues and financial crises are the rule, not the exception.
Of course, we’ve all noticed that the economy is in something of a swoon, and I’m sure we’ve all seen the unemployment numbers. It’s also true that any number of emotional and psychological issues can be triggered or exacerbated by stress, and a down economy can be a robust source of that.
Further, I’m hardly dealing with a representative sample. This is just a handful of people, and while it might seem like everybody from the vantage point of a guy who cares about them (and whose perspective is probably colored by his own turmoil), in truth maybe 2010 is no worse than any other year.
You tell me. All I know is that I’m busting my ass working toward a healthy, happy, and hopefully better me. And a lot of great people I know are trying to dig out of holes that are far deeper than anything I’ve ever tripped into.
I wish them the best. After the 2010 they’ve had, they’re due a world-beating 2011.