David Cain, on how we tend to greatly exaggerate the significance of today’s events and problems, awarding them far more importance than they’re usually worth:
There is solace to be found in simply recognizing the immense scale of our lives. A human life is too vast, too rich and varied in content, for any given day’s events to be critical to the whole thing. Therefore, our willingness to be calm in the face of day-to-day unsettledness is much more important than the specifics of what is so unsettling about right now.
This is true even of the big, permanent events: deaths, losses, diagnoses and breakups. A death, for example, is clearly permanent, but it is your relationship to that event that gives it meaning, and that relationship is not at all permanent. It will change fairly rapidly, in fact. It will be quite different a week later, and very different a year later. And by then, it will be someone slightly (or greatly) different who is experiencing it. You don’t have to bear the weight of the entire catastrophe today. Other days, and other Yous, will split the burden, in ways you perhaps can’t see from here.
So many quotable fragments in this piece. I really admire the way David looks at life, and usually agree with his outlook. It’s all about keeping things in perspective. It takes work, no doubt, but it’s always worth it to keep in mind that we’re fundamentally in control of our own lives, and the way we react to the things that happen to us.