Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Birthday Doldrums

Today is my birthday, and like the holidays, society tells me I should be happy (unless I’m changing a decade). Instead, I feel almost depressed. It’s not because I’m unemployed; I’ve been there before. It’s not that I’m wanting for anything; with food, shelter, love, and respect, you really don’t need much else. Maybe it’s because I’ve been focusing on a global disaster unfolding and feeling almost powerless to do anything about it.

It’s true there are some hopeful signs. In the media, politics, and entertainment, Peak Oil and global warming have become more popular topics of conversation. Companies and local governments are seizing the moment and hawking goods and services that cause less ecological harm, even though our national (U.S.) leadership remains clueless about our destruction of natural systems (as it is with so much else). Democrats have been given enough power to provide some crucial oversight of the out of control Executive branch, offering a chance that safety and environmentally critical regulations will be reinstated or strengthened after being methodically stripped of their power.

I walked into my favorite video store and book store today, and didn’t come out with anything. None of their offerings tugged at me with enough strength to incur the 17 percent tax I figure they deserve for using new materials. I avoided seeing a movie my wife wouldn’t see with me, partly out of guilt, and partly out of consideration for what else I might do with those two and a half hours of what is feeling like increasingly precious time.

Tonight, I’ll eat out, using a gift certificate I received for helping a friend get a job. I’ll try to have a good time, knowing that a part of my brain has already calculated how I will make it up to the rest of the planet.

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