It is a little less than 18 months since Juniper Mae Ed was delivered into this world to a tear stricken father and exhausted mother. Her little misshapen head proved malleable enough to restore itself to it’s healthy rounded expectation shortly thereafter. The bright red spot which developed a few weeks later above her right eye has stayed with us significantly longer, it’s still around, but will likely be a bygone in pictures in a year or two.
My how time flies.
Today Juni is running full speed throughout the house all weekend. Teresa and I are still trying to recover from various states of sickness we’ve picked up in the last few weeks. Her’s a lingering cough and mine a short lived sore throat and general tiredness.
The last eighteen months have gone so quickly that it’s difficult to put a solid description of the changes they imply. Particularly with the US election which happened last week. The first female would be president was upset by a capitalist who has never been in office or military. The future is in flux to a certain extent and many here in the US are uncertain our future. Of course, the future is always uncertain but now less predictable and that ambiguity is causing people stress.
Juniper has provided a new vantage point on life. A longer term consideration of the implications of actions taking place today. My main concerns today are that of climate change, water scarcity and resource constraints caused by temperature fluctuations. Our ecosystem is volatile and the greenhouse gases we are emitting are amplifying the changes to our climate very quickly now. These are cold hard facts that near every leader on the planet (sans US, now) agree on, but have previously struggled to commit toward altering industrial actions to veer from our current path. The Paris Climate Agreement was a good step toward limiting the emissions from each country, but the President Elect has the potential to back out of that agreement, which would be very negative as a world leader.
One of the largest complaints I hear from younger generations is that the older generations are actually selfish and only consider themselves. To a certain extent I agree with it. Outside of the obvious gaffe of a particular age set labelling themselves “the greatest generation” (the laughable hubris!) there is a great sadness in the misconception of judging others in significantly different circumstances. For instance, the youth of today are empowered with a great deal of tools via the internet, yet their competition is much more fierce–to enter college, to find a decent job, to afford rent or purchasing a home. Yet others might not understand the underlying economics and question why they don’t just work hard, save up and buy a house. Of course the jobs that provide that ability are typically masters levels, decade plus experience roles (and still hindered by elongated timelines of purchase….housing is far more expensive now than in the 70s-90s naturally).
My grandfather was a farmer for some time, then became an assembly line worker. He was by no means rich, but could afford to raise a family of 8 children and buy a house in rural Minnesota. I don’t know that those jobs are available, or capable of doing such things today. My other grandfather was a graphic artist and did quite well with it as a profession, however today there must be 20x the amount of people that do that using desktop publishing, not to mention the fact that it’s been institutionalized to the point where creating your own business as a freelancer is significantly less lucrative, if genuinely possible.
The younger generations today will have it significantly harder than I did. I was very fortunate, in addition the hard work I put in, to be able to do what I wanted and find a role that provides for my family–as was Teresa. Juniper and her ilk will be fighting for jobs in a world where economics are driven by automation and artificial intelligence, where our environments are being tested to their capacity by how many humans inhabit the earth and employ resources wantonly without recourse. War over things we take for granted like water and food will rage in developing nations. Developed countries will deal with social unrest and potentially worse as the lower classes are left without work.
These are the things that rattle around in my brain as I look at her. She is so beautiful and full of life. She smiles and makes me smile. She is independent. She won’t hold my hand when I drop her off at daycare as she wants to walk on her own, which is saddening, but only for me. And most everything comes back to her, in some form or fashion. Do other parents think like this? I believe so, I believe most of us think more about them than we do ourselves. That’s the big change in worldview.
Juniper, your mother and father love you. Our lives are much better with you here and we are excited to see what you choose in the future.