There is an air of history and something almost sinister about filling out the census form.
In 100 years, our descendants will be able to study the documents to analyze and analyze how we lived.
One of the unique features of this year’s form is the “time capsule,” a space where we can submit something we want our descendants to read or see if they choose to view it in 2122.
Perhaps the time capsule shows more than some other content of the forms what was important to us at the beginning of the third decade of the third millennium, what occupied us and what pleased us.
I assume that the contents of the capsule will include poems, quotes, drawings, cartoons, miniature paintings, sample household accounts or farm accounts. The war in Ukraine will certainly play a role, as will climate change.
In the latter case, I imagine our descendants will smile ruefully or shake their heads in disbelief if we fail to grasp the seriousness of the crisis and our feeble efforts to reverse the upward trend in our emissions.
Hopefully there are entries in the many languages that now bring such diversity and flavor to Irish society.
Speaking of adding variety and flavor, the current consort used the time capsule to record her recipe for brown bread, a recipe she got from her mother, who in turn got it from her mother-in-law, who got it from the previous generation.
Perhaps it will be released in the 22nd century and become the classic Irish brown bread recipe. At this stage we will all be brown bread.
But what will people think of us and our approach to life when they look at us through the lens of 100 years?
I can imagine that they will see our life as they see their own. I suspect their basic approach to life will mirror ours as they weave through the peaks, plains and valleys that mark human life.
Living with the unfinished is at the heart of being human. The quest to overcome the next obstacle consumes us because we believe that when we overcome it we will be great. But we won’t be great because there will always be another obstacle.
I notice that we spend a lot of time in our imaginations or daydreams conjuring up a perfect world. This could be a world where we win the lottery at our villa in Tuscany, get that dream job, own the model farm, or write a series of best-selling novels.
In fact, a quick look at the bestseller list gives something of a glimpse of what’s on our minds. Self-help books are always in the top ten and offer the reader life recipes like “The Five Simple Steps to Happiness” or “The Ten Signposts to Peace of Mind”.
Similarly, in the broadcasting world, the flagship radio shows often feature lengthy interviews with life gurus who claim they can free us from the curse of procrastination, the fear of confrontation, or the Monday morning hate.
Maybe some of these recipes and recipes work; We should be thankful that people who claim to have found paths to nirvana are willing to share them with us.
But the truth is, most of us will manage to muddle through.
At the risk of promoting my own recipes for a happy life, I think accepting that the world, people, and life aren’t perfect is as good a starting point as any.
In fact, it can be more than a starting point, it could liberate us from the constant search for nirvana and empower us to embrace the moment with all its love, loss, waste and glory.
I recently had a long conversation with a younger family member who was about to make his mark in the world. After walking a typical path through the books, lectures, cans, and parties of the third level experience, she is overwhelmed by the world she has entered.
We’d watched television together, where show after show was anything but joyful, from the doom and gloom of the housing situation to the war and the imminent climate change.
She said her generation inherited the earth at a most unfortunate time; it was even better 50 years ago.
But 50 years ago the North was burning, the Vietnam War was raging, married women were barred from most public jobs and gay people could be jailed for consummating their love.
Those of us who have lived through these times have made few earth-shattering breakthroughs, we didn’t discover five easy steps, we just muddled through, finding tenderness, love and meaning in the embrace and grace of the moment.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/comment/forget-five-steps-to-happiness-my-philosophy-is-to-just-accept-that-people-life-and-the-world-are-not-perfect-41520532.html Forget “five steps to happiness” – my philosophy is to just accept that people, life and the world are not perfect