This year has been whacked out. Well, if I'm to be honest, the last few years have been a little whacky. But this past year seems to really outdo them all so far. I'm not one of those people who think the world is going to end any time soon - I think we still have too much left to prove and accomplish. But some of the recent events made even me stop for a moment and say, "hmmm...."
The weather has been buggy for a while now, but this year seems to be even screwier. For most of my life, the weather here in upstate NY has been pretty easy to predict: Summer - hot, humid, periodic thunderstorms; Winter - cold, snow on the ground from December to March, an extra cold snap in the middle with negative wind chills. This year? We had snow, more than last year's almost negligible count, then it was 50 degrees. Then we had some snow. Then it was 50. Dipped into the negatives for a couple of days, then it was almost 60.... What?!?
I was talking to one of my friends who moved to Arkansas a few years ago. He's always saying how glad he is to get away from the NY winter. I asked him what the weather was like there. He said it was 34 and they had a little snow the day before. Ours? 50, and not a flake of snow to be seen... Then there's this Superstorm Sandy thing. I'm used to seeing poor Florida get torn apart during the hurricane season, but NY and NJ? How did that happen??
And my stomach just reels every time I think about all the senseless shootings this year - especially in Newtown. They're all awful, but the thought of those young children being caught up in such an inconceivable act, just throws all my senses into an alternate universe. Why are these shootings becoming such a common story on the news? What is happening to our society in general?
Now there are this winter's superbugs. The flu is hitting at a rate never before seen and less common strains that normally aren't even an issue are suddenly hitting full force. The RSV virus, which usually appears more like the common cold, is this year acting like the flu or pneumonia, filling pediatric wards all over the country. The other day I heard about the super norovirus - the stomach bug x1000. Really?? Because the regular stomach bug isn't bad enough? Australia really had to send over this new strain that the US has no immunity against and sending literally thousands of people to the hospital?
Am I frustrated? I think that clearly, yes I am. I've been frustrated all year, but watching my own child recently get hospitalized for the lovely RSV has sent me over the top. I readily admit that I'm a mild control freak. I like to be in charge of my surroundings and my own life. Not in that scary bad way where everyone needs to bend to my will. I just feel that there's a lot we can do when we put our minds to it. I'm not willing to let someone else determine how my life is going to end up, when I can do it for myself, thank you very much!
Helpless is the term I use to describe my feelings lately. Watching your child hooked up to an IV and oxygen, laying motionless in a huge hospital bed except to moan, and not be able to do anything to help her, is the pure definition of helpless for me. As parents we want to protect our children as much as possible. We never want to see them in the hospital for any reason. They should be nowhere near a gun of any kind. They should have a solid roof over their heads, food on the table, and their favorite stuffed animal tucked under their arm at night. They should play during the day, romp in the snow, laugh at Mickey Mouse, and be smothered with hugs, kisses, and love from their family. Ideal, I know, but not completely unrealistic. It's scary to think that our world has changed so much that I can't protect my child like my parents were able to do for me.
There are a lot of things in this world that can't be controlled, but some of the events of this past year may have been avoided if there were more people willing to work to save our world as a long-term goal instead of their own immediate political agendas. Superbugs and superstorms? Likely a result of climate change - which is a result of treating our environment unresponsibly. Why is it near impossible for the average person to eat healthy and chemical free? Why is there more time and energy put into keeping our "big businesses" happy, then in investing in other cleaner and ultimately cheaper energy sources? Why is the government spending more energy on fighting about whose stupid party is better than in actually passing useful laws and measures to pull our country back up (or could have saved us from going down in the first place)? All of these factors and more have created an environment that is so frustrating in so many ways, that people are beginning to feel there is no way out. And without proper mental health services, truly disturbed individuals are turning to guns and violence as their therapy instead of getting the help they so desperately need. It all creates a vicious cycle.
Super frustrated. I know I'm not the only one. But that still leaves the question - what can be done? That's a question that unfortunately I think will be hanging in the air for a while. Maybe 2013 will hold some answers. I certainly think it's time for the "regular" citizens of this country to stand up and see what we can do!
Let 2013 be a new beginning for some positive change!