Friday, September 14, 2012

the myth of modern anxiety

egad, a young neighbor of mine receiving social security disability, due to work making her nervous! my sister's been fighting for more than two years to get it, born with club-feet and her thumbs destroyed by arthritis from years of waitressing. and now she's won in court she's getting the run-around, her award sliced here and there by bureaucratic maneuvers. 

this makes me anxious, of course, both for her and myself. when i can no longer work, i'll be off to the poor-house, social security barely enough to pay the rent on a room. what will i do to prove i can't carry fifty pounds four hours a day? i suppose i could be lugged into court on a stretcher. alas, i'm sure that technique tried more than once. get up and walk! declares christ the judge. 

am i defeating my own premise? i think not. government benefits did not exist before the 1930's. before 1920 i doubt if anybody retired. and my anthropology teacher in college maintained, we live better than any kings before 1900. hot, running water, flush toilets, penicillin, hot-rods and motorcycles, the list is endless. as for food, i've read 23 million going hungry in the united states, hungry maybe,  but starving? 

i'm not belittling those living in ghettos. they've fears based in reality: guns, drugs, rape, child-abuse, wife-beating. unfortunately, the fears of us middle and upper class types based on imagination: how far can we fall, will we live better than our parents? i believe this based on children being raised in their own rooms where fantasies run wild. the scariest thing becomes the internalized monster in the closet.

in is there life after high-school? the author, ralph keyes, believes teenage years the most intense since they cause the most anxiety. we remember what we suffer. and in his book of travel-bytes the tao of travel, paul theroux quotes many who seek mosquitoes, deserts, bandits, rough dirt roads.  those who know realize we don't  remember pleasure, we only want to repeat it! 

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move, to feel the needs and hitches of our life a little more nearly, to get down off this feather-bed of civilization, and to find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints. 
                                                                                          Robert Lewis Stevenson

honestly, i'm a tenderfoot, backpack traveler, and i have no idea why i did it, avoiding marriage and a domicile. today, all i want to do is drink my tea, look out the window and get paid for it. yet these years passing with nary a ripple. yes, anxiety may have been my best friend. 

travel pics:

travel aphorisms: