I’ve been sitting on a link to an article by Ann Helen Petersen (sign up for her newsletter–it’s one of the best) for a while now, and why not start with an essay for the year? It’s about the Mr. Rogers movie from November, which I guess I need to see, and how adults get so good at not feeling feelings (surprise!).
We swallow existential questions, and the despair or wonder that blooms from them, and work. Fear of losing a job, fear of losing a parent, fear of being a bad parent—instead of sitting with those feelings, again, we work. Because work means money, and money brings a modicum of stability, and relief, however temporary, from that same fear. Work doesn’t actually give us peace or solve our problems. But for a lot of us, it’s what we’re good at and what we know, which is far more comforting than staring at the abyss of what we don’t.
She later quotes the movie:
“To die is human,” Rogers tells Lloyd’s family as they studiously avoid talking about his father’s imminent death. “Anything human is mentionable, and anything mentionable is manageable.”
That…might be one of the smartest things I’ve ever read. Something to remember going forward.