Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Going Concern

The business news started with excitement today when GM officially reported its "substantial doubt" about its survival. I don't make the news, I just report the misfortune of it all. I've had back and forth discussions here and in real person face-to-face talking about the future of the four-wheeled mobile transportation unit, and I don't want to go down the path right now. There are those who take one side of the argument, those who take the other, and very few people who cross the boundary from one side to the other. I don't believe this official report contains anything new or different from last week or last December, but it appears to be in a more official format resulting in headlines and renewed fear. I don't expect people outside of Michigan or possibly the Midwest to care very much about any of this, and most people are happy to oblige and not care. At this point, I'm finding myself increasingly caring less (I could have used the word decreasingly, but then I would not be embracing some of the intrinsic redundancy of the English language) about the best solution, but I'm also decreasingly caring less (i.e. increasingly) about my desire for a resolution. It's like studying for a final exam in college and then realizing that you'd just be happier to stop studying and accept a worse grade.

My going concern is that the constant specter of fear for my home state I hold within my heart will prevent me from embracing and enjoying many of the things that life has to offer, and that millions of Michiganders are likely stuck in the same mental cycle. While historically people would argue that the solution would be to leave for California ($20B in debt!) or somewhere like that, our worldwide recession makes this a far less feasible solution. In a chicken-or-egg irony, if everywhere else was doing just fine, people would probably be purchasing more cars and naturally strengthening Michigan's future.

I'm no spring baby rooster at the age of 26, and this week's concern morphs into next week's concern, and that holds over to the following month, and then all of a sudden I'm 50 and never able to live free of some of these worries. It paralyzes life decisions like home purchases or planting a tomato plant because it takes tomatoes too long to ripen and things are changing too fast and maybe I would never get to enjoy my tomatoes. I come from a long and proud lineage of worriers and this can prove a very worthwhile and useful trait in preparing for some life events, but it can also slowly sap away life bit-by-bit when the need for worrying is above the fold news across the country and world.

No one knows when some of these concerns will ease or what form that easement will take, but until it finally does, I need to focus on not focusing. Despite the obvious bad that regularly lingers like a malignancy, most of us are lucky to have even more things that bring us joy and escape. Maybe it's time for a new weekly feature: "things that aren't terrorizing me this week." I kind of like that idea.

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