The Year Gone By (2010)

L. R. Laverde-Hansen By L. R. Laverde-Hansen, 1st Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Culture

The end of the year had brought this writer to some period of reflection.

Thoughts on the Time Gone By

The interval around the end of one year/beginning of the next should inspire reflection and resolution. For me the holidays have become a shrinking pause, which interrupts the every-day storm and stress, which somehow has become the accepted part of our lives. How did this happen?

The early part of the Twentieth Century was called the Age of Anxiety. Perhaps it was, but once we accustomed ourselves to living with the possibility of nuclear annihilation, life became more like the Age of Frustration. There is the pressure to work more and more for a less-than-certain reward. Time and time again, our expectations run too far ahead of what actually comes to us. Or more likely, what we expect has gotten out of line with what we ought to be receiving. We pay a price for such discrepancy, yet we push on. And we start almost from the beginning.

I watch a rerun of my favorite current television show, Modern Family. In it the two dads, Mitchell and Cameron are worrying about their daughter, Lily. But the twist in this episode is that they are frantic to get their two-year old into a top-flight preschool. Their efforts can be seen through both their selfless desire to do the best for their child, and their shameless attempt (including playing the "gay" card) to have her enter an elite institution.

What is so amazing is not how weird Mitch and Cam appear to us, but how normal. The 1960s are dead. The rat race is alive-and-well, and parents seem determined to have their kids ready at the earliest possible moment.

A similar example was when the actress Meryl Streep recently appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman." She talked about joining a commune in her early years before going to drama school. By contrast, her kids got internships around their college years. It's understood today that Meryl Streep's or anyone's children wouldn't dare drop out and join a commune (unless it were part of a reality TV show). The times they have a changed again.

Some thought September 11th, 2001 warranted a period of such reflection, but that was its own warning about a different threat. Some thought that the Crash of 2008-2009 would signal the dawning of a different era. I think those were setting the table for something very different and very necessary. I think a new period of reflection, discovery and questioning of the prevailing winds of society-like the 1960s-will emerge. But as with all children, this era will both resemble what preceded it, and defy all expectations.

Happy New Year!

Originally Published on Yahoo Voices
New York January 5, 2011

Author's Postscript: What I wrote then preceded the Occupy Wall Street movement and other related events. Have found no reason to fundamentally change the text I wrote at that time (August 1, 2014).


Comments, Culture, Reflection

Meet the author

author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
Poet, playwright, commentator. I write wherever I can. Currently I reside in the City of New York.

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