Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ever Forward: Micro and Macro

When I was a kid my father used to mock us by saying, "But what have you done for me lately?" I guess he was, in his own way, remarking on the fact that we have short memories of the ways in which people have been nice to us or supportive about what we do or have done. We also have long memories of times we were wronged, times we were ignored, times we have been taken for granted, and times we were not respected. At least I do.

It is kind of the same way with work. Sometimes I feel, with all the different things that I do, that I am on a train, chugging away, and then I switch to another train, and chug away on it. After something is finished, I leave it at the station (the end of the train line, perhaps), and I get on another train. Whatever it is that I have finished seems, whether it be my work or work I am doing for someone else, to remain only as a vanishing point somewhere "back there."

Oh how I admire people who can tout their accomplishments. I can barely remember mine, because there is always the next thing. Because it is my habit, there is always a next thing, even if I have to make it myself.

I see these things subjectively and on a small scale in my life, and I see it objectively and on large scale when I observe way people take the accomplishments of our president and his administration for granted. That makes me think that it might just be part of human nature to dismiss and belittle, and then wait for the next thing to dismiss and belittle.

I see how reticent we are to celebrate the fact that certain choices made by smart people have made it possible for our economy (and the world economy) not to fall apart, for people to have the chance at getting health care who would not have the chance due to preexisting conditions (especially children), and for us to have a chance at having a country that does not discriminate against various portions of its population.

I suppose the only thing to do is to get back on one of the trains, and keep plugging forward. It's a lot better than standing still and doing nothing, and far better than going backwards (which is, thankfully, impossible to do).

1 comment:

David Wolfson said...

Elaine, I usually share the sense that my accomplishments evaporate like morning dew... but I put together a Curriculum Vitae last year when applying for a teaching job. I didn't get it, but the labor of compiling the document was a real eye-opener. I've done a lot of stuff over the last couple of decades or so.

Sympathize about Obama's plight. At least I didn't have an opposition party looking over my shoulder and loudly proclaiming that all of my accomplishments had actually made things worse...