We may disagree on issues of religion and politics, but most people can agree that these last 15 years or so have been hard times for the world. There have been terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Wars have devastated Africa and south-central Asia. Religious fundamentalists have spread hatred and prevented girls from going to school. There’s been a crippling economic depression that’s limited opportunities for the next generation of Americans, millions of whom will be confined to poverty. The crushing weight of student loan debt and national debt means this might be the first generation in recent memory to have things worse off than the one before it.
Trying times, yes. But there are glimmers of hope. When Frodo Baggins tells Gandalf the Grey he wishes the Ring had never come to him, the wizard says, “So do all who live to see such times; but that is not for them to decide. All we have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given to us.” Here are ten truths that can help.
10. Most Great People Went Through Terrible Times
Everyone suffers significant setbacks, and some of the most successful people suffered the most severe setbacks. Herman Melville had a serious breakdown shortly after finishing Moby-Dick, and spent much of his life working as a customs official to pay the bills. Merle Haggard was imprisoned. Johnny Cash was addicted to booze and pills. And they all rallied back.
9. Now Is a Fine Time to Live In
Contrary to the naysayers who think the world is getting hopelessly worse, there are signs of hope. Globally, despite the persistence of small-scale conflicts, we live in one of the least violent times in human history. Medical advances of the last 100 years have seen a massive reduction in preventable diseases, while breakthroughs in agriculture have saved the lives of millions more. Not to mention the near-universal access to technologies that our grandparents would’ve considered magic.