My Turn: Forty-one worries, and none of them on my list
There’s a saying that we always worry about the wrong things, and now it’s happening to me. From talking to friends, neighbors, family and strangers, I had formulated a whole set of worries for 2014.
Then on Dec. 29, I noted this headline in the Sunday Monitor Forum section: “What to worry about in 2014.”
The column neatly classified the worries into four categories, large through small, making it easy to scan. I wondered where my worries would fall.
I read all 41 listed worries, from Syrian civil war to political instability in Kyrgyzstan. Gosh! None of these were even on my own list. I went from 9 to 50 things to worry about.
Reading more carefully, I noticed that the list wasn’t so much for me, nor for people I talk to – it was really for U.S. policy-makers and related officials.
This wasn’t what I expected from the headline. For one thing, if the government can keep track of every phone call I make, it shouldn’t need to turn to the Monitor to figure out the 41 top worries. For another, none of these worries seemed to be on any of the lists I’m aware of. Most people I know are worried about what might go wrong in their own lives – their relationships, jobs, health and possibly planning for a hopeful retirement.
When pressed to think of larger, goverment-level issues, friends, family, and other folks will mention worries such as climate change, dysfunction in Washington, the growing role of corporations and money in politics, a rapidly aging infrastructure, overzealous domestic spying, fallout from damaged Japanese nuclear power plants, Concord BearCats and, in general, a government focused on the wrong problems. Perhaps the biggest worry is that most of the 41 listed worries had to do with aggression.
My biggest hope for 2014 is that we learn to work together to solve the truly existential problem facing Man.
(Roger Shamel lives in Hillsboro.)