A Century of Storms: Perspective for the New Year

todayJanuary 3, 2023 1

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I’ve taken the original that has been passed and shared a few times, fact-checked all of the information, and revised it a bit for 2023: 

For a small amount of perspective, imagine you were born in 1900. When you are 14, World War I starts and ends on your 18th birthday, with approximately 9 million military personnel and 7 million civilians killed. 

Word war I image

Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until you are 20. Fifty million people die from it in those two years. 

Yes, 50 million.

Spanish Flu Image

When you’re 29, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, and global GDP drops 27%. That runs until the late 1930s. The country and the world economy are severely impacted. When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet.

The Great Depression

When you’re 41, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, approximately 75 million people perish in the war, and the Holocaust kills about 12 million Jews. 

At 52, the Korean War starts, and about 5 million people die.

At 64, the Vietnam War begins, and it doesn’t end until you are 75. Approximately 4 million people die in that conflict. In 1962, when you are approaching your 62nd birthday, there is the Cuban Missile Crisis, a significant event in the Cold War that could have led to nuclear war but ultimately did not.

Vietnam War photo

Segregation was still a significant issue in the United States. African Americans were still being discriminated against and were not afforded the same rights and opportunities as white Americans. Many states had laws that mandated segregation in schools, public facilities, and even housing.

A picture of a black man drinking from water fountain for coloured only .

As you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that? 

A kid in 1985 didn’t think their 85-year-old grandparent understood how hard school was. Yet those grandparents (and now great-grandparents) survived through everything listed above.

Perspective is a fantastic art. As 2023 begins, let’s keep things in perspective. Let’s be smart, help each other out, and we will get through all of this. In the history of the world, there have been many storms and challenges, but they have all eventually passed. This, too, shall pass.



Written by: Slim

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