Interesting Times

There is an ancient curse that goes something like this; “May you be forced to live in interesting times.” Each generation has its “Interesting Times” that they look back upon. Sometimes those times come one right after another and can feel overwhelming. My parents generation lived through the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the Second World War 1939-45. Many of their life’s references usually involved looking back on those times and how they survived them.

Charles Dickens, in his book, A Tale of Two Cities. Opens with the paragraph; “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …”

For Robert Kennedy who said; “Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind. And everyone here will ultimately be judged- will ultimately judge himself-on the effort he has contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which his ideals and goals have shaped that effort.”

Interesting times can feel sometimes overwhelming and frightening. People, as a general rule, like life and events to move at a steady even pace, with surprises that we can handle. We like certainty and routine. Yes at times we bemoan the dullness that nothing interesting happens to us. But the truth is interesting things happen around us all the time. Sometimes they are scary; The worst of times. Sometimes they are very enjoyable; The best of times. It is how we react to those times that defines us and how we get through the best and the worst.

Interesting times are also times that we can thrive in. They can be the most creative times that we embrace as well as times that we can overcome and with luck become better. Either way they will ultimately say something about us for either good or ill. But at the end of the day as Charles de Lint said; “. . .I thrive in interesting times.”

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