We Could All Die!

I can remember believing that we weren’t going to survive, as a country, to see the year 2000. Somehow, we survived. In fact, January 1, 2000 turned out to be just another day, like the rest of them.

As a child, I believed that a nuclear bomb was going to wipe out our civilization before I completed elementary school. I lived most of my childhood in fear of death.

Now I’m 50. There have been no nuclear holocausts in my lifetime, and I’ve been alive for half a century. My parents are still alive. My husband is 60. And both of my kids have survived for more than a decade.

When my kids were born, I worried about everything. They could choke. They could be kidnapped. They could be murdered. We could all be murdered. I watched lots of crime TV. I discovered – and watched – the entire original Law & Order series in the middle of hundreds of midnight breast-feedings. Dylan would fall back asleep, and I’d stay awake in terror until fictitious justice was served.

So of course, I passed along these fears to my kids.

One day, toddler Shane announced, “We could all die!”

And that’s when we started our new family motto: It COULD happen… but it PROBABLY won’t.

We now use this motto on a regular basis. And of the people who have heard this motto, I have benefitted more than most.

A new year is beginning. There is still death, destruction, war and crime saturating the media. I still watch the crime shows – but stay away from reality television. I try to remember that they are different genres.

We are fifteen years past the time when I thought the world was going to end because of some oddball computer glitch.

I can remember watching the New Year’s 2000 celebrations from other parts of the world, where it became January 1st there before it became January 1st here.

I remember thinking, Gee, they did okay on that side of the world. Maybe we’ll make it after all!  I was so excited about our good fortune, after all the worrying I’d done.

I still think, maybe 2015 will be devastating.

It could happen. But I am going to believe the best this year.

In 2014, I learned some wonderful lessons that I can carry with me throughout the new year. I learned from Dylan that changing where you are doesn’t change who you are. My cousin’s son discovered – and beat – cancer this year, too, which reminded me what is really important in life. And if I can remember those two things for this whole year, I’ll be a better person by 2016.

I don’t want to make any resolutions, because I tend to rebel against them. But I do want to declare that I am aware, and alive, this year.

And I will … probably  live through today.

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