And of course, there was the small affair of the American inauguration. Not only did it knock words out of those who never find themselves speechless, as they searched for adjectives to describe the day. But it also knocked the desire out of me to think about much of anything else. My mind, blissfully, has drawn a short-term blank.
The entire time Bush was President, I worried, fretted, and opined; and I was only one of billions the world over doing the same thing. It was like having another job. "Yes, I'm an advertising professional, but I moonlight as an expert panicker in an attempt to keep the world intact." It was about all I/we could do at times, wasn't it? Watch in horror, watch again, scratch our heads, experience profound fear. Fear and baseless hope became so intermingled that you could hardly feel one without the other.
Someone once said in the last eight years that W was like a feckless adolescent who had borrowed his dad's keys to the car—"Sorry, Dad, I wrecked the country." And we were all in the back of the Ford Country Squire without our seat belts fastened.
Now, there's an adult in the driver's seat, and all of a sudden, my panic is gone. I'm still worried, but I'm also inspired to participate meaningfully in a dialog and a process, not to mention some personal choices, that might pull us forward. Panic isn't something the new driver inspires. Quite the opposite.
In fact, right now, thanks to Obama, even though I'm working and even though the kids are home sick and even though the stresses of daily life haven't abated one iota, I am taking a small psychological vacation. For the first time in—oh, let's count 'em, eight—years, I feel calm. Really calm. And the hope I feel isn't intermingled with terror. It just is.
So I'm not really doing a lot of thinking right this minute. That'll come later. What I'm doing is just feeling. Well, no. That's not it either. I'm basking—simply basking in the ray of hope that has stretched itself far and wide across this crusty little spinning ball of a planet that we all call home.