The Best is Yet to Come
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. The dark decade of the two thousand aughts is now a full year in the rear-view mirror and for some, the time has never been better to move forward with a foot on the gas.
Of course that will sound a discordant note in the backing track to the lives of more than 13 million people who remain unemployed in the U.S., whose prospects for getting a jump start on their stalled situations look dim in the face of a growing workforce and lawmakers’ persistent talent for pretending they do not exist.
Young people joining the workforce will be forgiven a lack of giddiness about their immediate futures as well, with many of even the most well (not to mention expensively) trained among them joining labor pools where applicants may outnumber jobs by as much as seven to one.
The aging among us, too, could justifiably ask whether their efforts of the last thirty, forty, fifty years were all for nought, what with all the talk in Congress and on the campaign trail about the impossible burdens of Medicare and the inevitability of diminishing Social Security in the years to come.
It’s clear at this point that President Obama’s Hope and Change rhetoric of the last campaign season meant something altogether different than many, if not most, of his supporters believed four years ago, and while the racists and total nut jobs among the opposition can be counted on to continue opposing him on principle, the nation’s 44th president seems destined for a legacy of which the best that might be said is that the country didn’t devolve into total chaos and utter lawlessness during his Administration.
But this is the start of a new year. Like Spring Training in the world of Major League Baseball, the start of a new year is a time when all things are possible. New disciplines can be embraced, old habits can be forsaken. Change can come at last.
The question is–as always–will it? And the answer, as always, is that it won’t–unless each of us individually wills it to.
A friend, who is a Life Coach, sends out relentlessly upbeat missives on a daily basis, reminding me that I create the world I live in. The truth behind her messages is undeniable, though their power, sadly, remains untapped sometimes. This portion of her first message in this new year is illustrative:
Just because there is strife and pain and negativity in the world, doesn’t mean you have to give up on life. You can change your own life, and many, many other lives for the better, when you decide to do so.
Just because you’ve been reckless or frustrated or disappointed in the past, doesn’t mean the future has to be that way. Today is a new day, your life is yours to live, and there’s no limit to the goodness and joy you can now create.
I started a new workout regime today. It’s only got a 12 week arc and I should see the change I want to see in my physical self if I maintain the discipline to stick with it every day. I’ll have no one but myself to blame if I’ve still got belly hanging over my belt buckle come the end of March.
This past fall and winter thousands of people across the U.S. took to public and private spaces from coast to coast (and places in between) to express frustration at the obscene prosperity gap between those among the upper echelons of the American economy and those at the middle and below. Some cheered the Occupy movement as a long overdue manifestation of the change we need to see if the country is to avoid devolving at some point into total chaos and utter lawlessness. Others derided the occupiers as dirty hippies who needed to quit complaining and get a job (see paragraphs 2 and 3 above for more on that).
With an election year upon us it seems there will be no end of opportunities for the leaders and the led to hold forth on what the body politic should look like come this time next year. The view from here says it’s doubtful we’ll see a new President inaugurated but I believe there’s good reason to hope he’ll see a very different country than the dazed and naive one he greeted in January of 2009.
Something tells me the country of Mr. Obama’s second administration is going to be leaner, meaner and more champing at the bit for Hope and Change than he might imagine.