My thoughts seemed like a Netflix fantasy series. I started a conversation with my wife one morning saying I was losing my grasp on reality while having trouble making sense of time and space. Pinch me please. Bless her heart, she looked shocked and worried for my mental health. A reset to realism was needed, and quick.
According to much of what I’ve read in the media lately, I’m not alone in feeling abstract. Faulting things, events or individuals for my discombobulation won’t help. My doubts about what is real aren’t about the stuff out there. It’s more to do with how I’m processing the maddening array of conflicting information. To discover the truth these days I have to reevaluate almost everything I have learned so far in life. I’ve lost my trust in institutions, in the political process, in the weather even. Finding realness and holding on to it is so exhausting!
I watched with incredulity the length of the London queue to view Queen Elizabeth’s coffin. This line up couldn’t be real. What did those half million people need? Grief is real, I think. But standing in the rain, overnight, for twelve hours, surely challenges anyone’s sense of reality. The aged Children Royal stood vigil wearing military regalia similar to a toy soldier set my grandfather once bought for me from Harrods. I imagined costumes for Halloween. Is this an authentic representation of life in 2022? Such disrespectful thoughts! Death is real, I imagine.
Covid19 continues to read like an incomprehensible nonfiction novel. Illness is real, I thought. It seemed that in 2020 many governments were working in the interests of the people yet now we are sternly encouraged to get back to the business at hand; making money. This virus isn’t over and there are more variants expected. So the new normal is really the new reality.
People interviewed after a disaster sometimes say they felt like they were in a movie. They are sharing the shock of an unreal experience while the results of the flood/fire/tornado or other such climate induced mayhem is clear to see, strewn about them. If I’m deciding what’s real based on my past experience, that’s probably a mistake since cryptocurrency doesn’t seem real, Donald Trump wasn’t real, real estate prices aren’t real, reality television isn’t real and global warming is supposedly a hoax.
We are creatures of habit. We like things to be predictable. People who say, ‘embrace the change’ are likely the ones in charge. And the ones in charge don’t appear to know what they’re doing so I resist accepting their version of reality. I’m sounding unrealistic and I realize it. I’m looking for a focal point and I’m coming up lacking. Moments are real, aren’t they?
To summarize: Things aren’t the way they used to be. They never were. The unbelievable can still be real even if it seems crazy. I know I’m not imagining things when my grandchild climbs onto my lap with a big picture book. Love is real, I know that at least.