For many of us, it is inauspicious to see the date October 3rd this week. For some, this is an excuse to stock up on Starbucks and Goji berry tonics. For others, it is a synonym for 2017’s
“okay, I’ll drink this then” mentality. For me? It means my nervous system must be in high gear to understand and deal with this election year. And really, why not? October 3rd 2019 might be a toss-up of a year, to do some figure out how I can make a change when I can’t do anything else.
Unlike the 9 months before it or the 12 months after, I don’t remember too much about it. I was done with my freshman year and living with roommates that would now have their own rooms just a short walk down the hall. I was home for four months and came back in January of senior year. I spend plenty of time with mental health professionals and business consulting skills do not translate well when dealing with today’s climate. The main point is that it was the peak of the election cycle that I was in, which then left me to try to cope with being only a couple of months removed from one. As it would turn out, this was also a peak of the “applause for everything anyone said and did” conversation, alongside the constant analysis of alternative explanations and alternate sides of history that has in turn bubbled up and given the anxiety another spike.
Both of my cousins are in high school this year. I feel completely confident that after looking at all of my text and contact with them, they are exactly the same as we are, despite having only been up and going for two years. Both of my grandfathers died this year, and while their effect on me had greatly affected my stability in my late childhood, their ability to act as filterless humans allowed me to accept my parent’s divorced status without seeing it as a reason to regret one for the other. They would have been hard to outlive, and I wish I could have had an older version of both of them here with me for my current portion of being a 24-year-old living in South Florida. Because of this, there are discussions of the Grand Old Party, the Coalition Against Trump’s Conservatism, and its clients. I know these discussions are with the approval of everyone I know, but I feel a slightly awkwardness that is similar to what a parent feels when their teenage baby is calling them for advice. You try and back the child up, but you know there are parts you are not really prepared for, even if only in your heart. When the child gets embarrassed, you want to just do not know how to deal. And I don’t even think that there are twelve young adults out there who don’t feel like this in one way or another, there just isn’t a breadth of coverage for the people who haven’t had the mainstream media exposure, and are thus sheltered enough from partisan noise to feel as though they can get caught off guard by a volatile situation.
Yes, it was more than a month since Trump had been kicked out of office and his cabinet was departing. Yet, the pain is still fresh and the atmosphere still heated up. I’m still waiting for my arm to stop shaking and rolling around on the ground. I’m still keeping a close eye on words I would be unwilling to even utter in my lowest moments as an adult: Neo-Con, Western, Democrat, Pro-Choice. I’m still prioritizing rational thought over a rant. I’m still hopeful that the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel will not be a train and that I will get over my anxiety in order to make sure it gets there. I’m just worried that this might be a month until election day.
Writer and Editor-at-Large of The Treehouse Dailies
Published in The New York Times