While I had intended today to be an extremely relaxing day after quite a busy day yesterday , it is a very difficult matter for me to simply just relax, and without even really trying to do a lot I ended up writing a couple of blog entries (one for this blog, and the other for a congregational webpage), along with finishing one of my Coursera classes’ final exams and doing the final project for another class. After that and some chatting, I ended up reading another book for a future book tour, getting my gasoline, and getting groceries before going home to do laundry, relax, and eat. For some people, that would be a very busy day. For me, it was a rather relaxing day, and one that left me feeling a bit pensive, though without really knowing why.
I reflect often enough on life that the reasons and specific motivations for moods are often fairly easy to illuminate. I can tell when I am flummoxed by a longstanding issue in life, or if an incident has prompted a certain sense of sadness, but it is not easy to always understand the source of a mood. I did not feel sad, but I definitely felt a sense of bittersweet about today, and figuring out why, and what would make it less bittersweet. Lacking understanding as to what exactly was causing the mood, except perhaps a certain sense of exhaustion and finality. What to do about this is not always an easy matter to determine.
As it would happen, while I write this, I am studying one of the coursera classes I am taking about Major Depression in the population. I suppose my desire to understand not only myself but also matters of importance to me  in their larger social contexts has led me to ponder larger questions and how the individual life becomes aggregated into the larger statistics that mark our world, and how social circumstances are caused by and themselves cause the crises of individuals. We are tremendously influenced by our social context, and our own personal experiences feed into the social contexts that are created by our aggregate efforts as people. We therefore ought to expect that in the atmosphere of broken families, a tremendous rise in abuse, as well as a general crisis of trust and community unity that individuals ought to be under great stress, and increasingly at younger and younger ages, before we have developed the strength to endure such matters with grace and success.
What can be done about this? As individuals, how do we best work out our own lives and behave in such a way that we can help build up others as well? We can give to others what we do not have, but even those of us who have lived challenging lives should at least have learned some resilience and can give some encouragement and a social network to others struggling with our “age of melancholy.” We are certainly not in this alone. If we are facing a world whose institutions and communities have crumbled, we have to rebuilt it back robust enough and inclusive enough that it is not only by age cohort, but at least theoretically with anyone who is willing to be friendly and kind towards us. We’re all in this together, and the social strength we desire to see among ourselves is something we also have to be willing to provide to others, so that each may do their share and carry their load, even if none of us can carry our burdens alone, nor were we ever meant to.
 See, for example: