Imagine you were born in 1900. On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war.
Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.
On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.
When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet. And don’t try to catch your breath.
On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.
At age 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million people perish.
At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict.
Smallpox was epidemic until you were in your 40’s, and from your birth, until you were 55 you dealt with the fear of Polio epidemics each summer. And there was the constant threat of contracting other “childhood” diseases such as measles, etc.
On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening.
When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.
Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How did they endure all of that? If you were a kid in 1985 you may have thought your 85-year-old grandparent did not understand how hard school was. And how mean that kid in your class was. Yet they survived everything listed above. Perspective is an amazing and valuable gift. Refined and enlightening as time goes on.
Let us try to keep things in perspective. Your grandparents were called upon to endure all of the above—today we are being called upon to stay home or wear a mask and practice social distancing.