I even remember your mother's tattered apron, for some strange reason. It was blue and checkered, and she didn't seem particularly fond of wearing it.
I also remember your dad confiding in me that getting old is actually quite "boring." He said he was rather tired of life and the same mundane routine. As a child, this made me think that being a kid was extra special, and that growing up was not all it's cracked up to be. I still think that, even in my 40s.
Life in 2021 is boring in another sense. The endless cycle of COVID variants, political squabbles, and climate change fiascos is making us all weary. Perhaps we are privileged to feel bored by these events. After all, our privilege insulates us from the tragedy of it all. Still, ours is essentially a tragic age, but we refuse to take it tragically. I think my thoughts about the world can best be summarized by the writer, DH Lawrence. He captures a sort of pessimistic hope that strongly resonates with me:
"The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
I realize that this email might be the strangest, most peculiar birthday greeting that you will receive. But, 'strange and peculiar' is the marking of our time, don't you think? Very befitting, indeed.
Here's to living among the ruins...going on almost 90 years!
Shelly engelman, PhD
Sometimes I think and ponder about non-work stuff. Sometimes I delude myself into thinking these thoughts are profound. During these moments of self-delusion, I write these thoughts down. And, here they are!