My landscape is constantly changing. I am faced with ever advancing technology. I said goodbye to another boyfriend candidate. The melting of the polar icecaps is increasingly becoming a dire situation and I gained seven pounds over the holidays.
I was complaining about the state of things to a friend recently. She simply said I was going through a “paradigm shift.”
A paradigm shift? What the heck does that mean?
For weeks now I have rolled that thought around in my head. I have said it aloud. I have written it down, P-A-R-A-D-I-G-M.
I even looked up the definition. A paradigm shift is defined as a fundamental change in approach or assumptions.
By George, I think she is right.
I assumed I would be happily married living in suburbia by now. All grown up, steady and stable, with 2.5 kids and a dog. Instead I am a single mom living in a duplex at the beach juggling a career and home life.
I remember the Clinton years fondly. I was a wild teenager unconcerned with global climate crises or the threat of a second Great Depression. The most newsworthy story of the day was something about the president and cigar smoking in the Oval Office.
I spent the next 10 years trying to neatly package my life into what I thought it should be. Go to college – check; get married — check; buy a house – check; have a kid – check. According to the instructions, I should be living the American dream by now.
Unfortunately I am, along with others my age, looking around and thinking, “Crap, this is so not what I had in mind.”
Once I conceded to this paradigm shift concept I could feel my blood pressure ease. I needed to let myself off the hook for the madness and the mess and realize that we are personally, locally and globally experiencing the paradigm shift.
We all know the economy sucks, global warming is upon us and country music is circling the drain. I know I should meditate more, reduce, reuse and recycle, and maybe drink a little less — yada, yada, yada.
My point is maybe instead of looking at the world around us like it is all going to hell in a hand basket, we could acknowledge the paradigm shift. And if you want, you could choose to believe that it will be a shift for the better.
Maybe through science we will learn to make a smaller environmental footprint with a larger population. Maybe Barack Obama will deliver the change we need and Henry Paulson will figure out how to bail out the bail out.
From here on out, I am going to listen to the bad news and react accordingly. I will recycle and I will buy organic food. I will drive less. I will floss and read to my son before bed.
I will do my part when I can. And I will support the industries and people who are working to build a sustainable future in this shifting environment.
And I will remember that I am living in a paradigm shift and it does no good to get all worked up about it. People will come and go. I can lose the weight. Maybe urban gardens will become common practice and the love of my life will finally arrive.