POSTED: October 1, 2023

There has been a lot in the news about A.I. lately, driven partially by the writer’s strike in Hollywood. Now that A.I. is artificial intelligence and really is a concern on many fronts, but the A.I. I am referring to here is one that relates to the inflation in our stress and has more of my attention: Anxiety Inflation.

We all have anxiety, it’s a good thing to have in the right dosage, much like fear, a sense of adventure, ambition etc. But there are times in our lives or circumstances that really ramp it up and dealing with it becomes more difficult without counselling, meds or a real change of thinking.

I have found that as I age, I have less control of many things in my life. The simple example is that as we age our bodies start to wear out and let us down. That takes on many forms but because most of those aspects are incremental. Sometimes we don’t see it at all and at other points can clearly see the increase in the rate of deterioration in our sight, hearing, memory, or joints. That deterioration is an underlying fear that creeps into my thinking more often these days.

Now in better times we can put this into perspective and effectively digest that  level of anxiety, but today there are so many concerns that start to pile on. Our geopolitical world is a mess. Chinas aggression, Russia’s aggression, and increasingly countries looking inward. The migration of mass population groups creates its own conflicts, particularly in some countries not prepared to accept the waves of immigrants. We have largely made it through the pandemic I think but the financial fallout of price inflation, housing issues, and both individuals and governments unable to keep up with costs, are starting to really hit home in many places. Increasingly there is evidence that society is breaking down, with less tolerance for others, a lack of mutual respect and a general growth in self interest. And with it all this going on the foretelling of the climate crisis is no longer foretelling – its all happening right now – the floods, wildfires and hurricanes.

I am a political geek and love to keep up with what is happening in the world. I also care about the environment and am disturbed by all the evidence of our damage to the planet. But watching the news sometimes is just overwhelming. The anxiety inflation is just running at a rapid rate and I need at times to just go for a nice walk, try to stay in the present. Of course, it is that staying in the present that’s the key. Anything that makes us slow down, not project ahead to the worlds end, or to stress over past mistakes or missed opportunities, is the way to go. A good coffee with a fresh croissant and some homemade jam will often do the trick for me, but some days even those nice things have only a short-term effect and its tough to rise above it. I find I am drinking too much alcohol and letting the state of the world get to me.

But for now, I am off to take this big boat out for a sail. My reality is that these days En Plein Air usually sits in her slip for months at a time, but with water and wind conditions right, Captain Ciara at the helm, and a couple of friends to crew, maybe on this beautiful first of October day, with a steady wind and in this little bit of sea just south of Malta we can turn off the world…. if just for an afternoon.



P.S. The afternoon turned out to be an amazing outing and as the wind died down and the sun started to retreat a sky to remember showed up…