I was 16 years old.
Once again, I was depressed and prone to anxiety attacks. I now took anti-depression medicine, sleeping tablets, allergy medicine, and anxiety tablets. Grandpa was very worried about me, and even said that I have more medicine than he does! I don’t know why I always felt that way. The media said that more and more children and teens get depression. Who would expect anything else in the rapidly changing world?
There was good news. There was now a cure for Alzheimer’s disease which robbed many people of dignity. I had a friend at school that had a grandpa with this disease. He would forget things and needed a lot of help. I did not know him, but it was so nice that people could be cured now. Grandpa was right when he said that there should always be hope. The world was changing. The humans were smart enough to adapt to these changes. People that were not a pessimist and could see hope would change the world.
Grandpa also showed this to me when he spoke with me one day. He told me that a group of people that lived in the apartment block would be making a garden there. We could grow our vegetables and share what grew. We could also grow plants and vegetables on our balcony. So both Grandpa and I spent a lot of time getting our hands dirty. The results were incredible. It felt like a miracle seeing things grow. It was great that the once ugly apartment block now looked so alive!
The greatest thing was that Grandpa taught me that we cannot feel depressed and worried. With hope and hard work, we could make a change. The result was that I was laughing and smiling more than I ever was. I stopped taking the medicine for depression and anxiety. I felt like I was born again.
Grandpa got sick and was on his deathbed. I was constantly by his side. Even Sven came to visit Grandpa. We never talked about Grandpa dying. I refused to believe that he would die. We talked about our garden all the time and he reminded me that happiness comes with the small things in life. His life left him bit by bit every day. I still could not accept that he was leaving me, He even stopped talking and it was like a waiting game. I did not leave his side. I could not believe it when he stopped breathing. The doctor came and pronounced him dead. I screamed and cried that the doctor was mistaken, my grandpa was not dead!
The funeral was so sad. I could not stop crying and could not believe that man that influenced me the most was now gone. Even Sven came to the funeral. He looked like he was high and was so shabby. When he did speak with me, it was not about grandpa but to ask me for money.
Life continued despite that Mom and I took a long time to grieve. I followed Grandpa’s advice and continued trying to see the good things about life. I continued taking care of the garden on the balcony. Mom even started helping. This was a good thing as it made me a lot closer to mom. We would talk about everything.
I remember that we ate our first vegetables. It was a huge celebration for us. This was at a time when London now had 10 million people and there was a growing nationalism in the country, as immigrants that did not look British were despised.
I was 17 years old.
It was hard having hope as Grandpa said. I would soon be finished with school and this meant that I would need to find out what I wanted to do in the future. The problem was that unemployment has never been so high. You could not get a traditional manufacturing job, and even jobs in the stores, banks, and offices we impossible to get. Everything was being automized. There was less and less need for humans to work. I could not imagine myself unemployed all my life. This fear made me study more.
The alternative was starting on the medication again, and I refused to do that.
I did not have lots of friends, but this year I had a new friend in the USA. Her name was Sharon and she was the same age as me and noticed the world was very mad at humans. The weather changed a lot in the USA. The winters were very cold and spring was flooding. Summer would bring drought and winter would bring hurricanes. She wrote that they were worse every year! The economy was getting worse every year. Sharon did not have a lot of hope for the future. I told Sharon how Grandpa told us that without hope, things would be worse.
Mom got married during the summer. He has lived with us for a few years. I still had no relationship with him and did not want one. I honestly thought mom got married too soon after Dad’s death. Her new husband was not bad. He treated mom well and was even nice to me. I just did not need him. I had a dad and he lived in my heart.
This year ended with bad news. For the first time in history, there was no ice in the artic. It all melted, mostly due to humans. The consequences will not be too good. The water would raise a lot and this would affect hundreds of cities and towns across the world.
I was 18 years old.
This was the year that would determine my life. I had my final exams at school. So this year was no fun and all study. Sharon wrote to me what is the use of studying. The world was falling apart and there would be no jobs for us!
There was a lot of talk about garbage this year. In the last 30 years, it has increased by 70%. A lot of it was put in landfills. The garbage debate started because there was so much garbage at these landfills, that there were landfills that had landslides and people were killed and houses were destroyed. This mainly happened in the poorer countries. There was a way to renew the garbage or use it for energy, but these countries did not have money for it.
Twenty percent of the country was now Muslims, and this was starting to make the situation very tense in the UK. This was especially after they wanted more Muslim laws in the country. This caused a lot of fear and tension as people were afraid of what these laws would be. The thing was that normal people knew very little about the Muslims except for what we have seen on the news. This was either some Jihad or about women being discriminated against. British society was changing very quickly.
I got top grades in my final exams. I wish that Grandpa and dad could see it. Mom and her new husband were so happy and proud. I was also very proud.
The end of this year ended badly. Sven died of an overdose. I knew that he had a lot of problems and was with the wrong crowd. I was never very close to him but he was my brother. The feeling that everyone I loved ended up dying was once dominating my life. I admit that I did not cry a lot for Svenjas death. I was a bit mad that he just wasted his life. What did he have to show for his life?
I was 19 years old.
I decided to take a year off before I went to university. I think my brain needed a break as all I could think about was why work so hard when I would be left alone at the end. I only had mom left and was afraid that she would die soon.
I went to the USA and visited Sharon. We were chatting on the net for a few years. It was great to finally meet her. She had a huge family and lived in a huge house. Everything in the USA was big. Sharon had huge plans. She wanted to be a politician as she said that was the best way we could adapt to the changing world. This surprised me as sometimes when we chatted, it was like she had no hope. Now she wanted to change the world.
The shops were half-empty which surprised me. Sharon explained that the constant extreme weather has destroyed farming. It was the same story as last year. Huge rainfall and hurricanes and storms and forest fires and drought were becoming worse and worse.
Before I left, we were all told suddenly to go down to the basement. A tornado suddenly was close by. I could hear noises as we hid in the dark basement. It was like there was a war outside. I will admit that I was very afraid. Sharon tried to console me and said this was common. She always was happy that the house was standing when the storm passed.
I was not only together with Sharon. Her brother was a few years older than me. I blushed every time I saw him as he was so cute. I think I was in love, but I did not say anything. It was only the night before I left that David admitted that he told me that he fancied me, and thought he was in love.
On the way back to the UK, I thought about flying over the ocean. As more and more minerals were being used up on land, they have been developing new mining submarines that could mine for things in the deep oceans. I suppose our industries needed raw materials, but it made me think that we were now destroying the sea as well as the land.
I was 20 years old
I did not speak with my few friends that I had at school. They spent all their days in virtual reality. They just had to wear a helmet and spend all day in a world where they felt comfortable. While in the past, this was a hobby, it has overtaken many people’s lives now. It was now being called a total reality. Many professionals were afraid of this. I did not want to be caught in this trap of a virtual world. I think it was more important that we lived in the real world. At the same time, I did not judge those that do this. It was an escape from the dying world we live in.
I was ready to study. It was tough choosing what career I wanted. I did not want machines to take over my work. I studied to be a journalist. Studying at the journalist school was one of the happiest times of my life. I met many good friends.
It was now a bad time for people with allergies. This was due to the climate changes that effected weather and temperatures. In the last 40 years, the pollen count has doubled. This did not affect me that much. I suffered more when I was a child. Now they had new medicines that helped to give me a normal life. It was like what Grandpa said.... the world changes and we must learn to adapt.
The big event this year was the collapse of the EU (European Union). Rising global temperatures have caused many climate disasters that are becoming worse and worse. Many from Africa try to cross the Mediterranean to seek a better life. This has been happening since I was a baby. The EU never has done much about it, causing a huge strain on countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain. The UK withdrew from the EU before I was born and this seemed to be a wise decision. The situation was now that countries could not speak with each other. Each country had enough of its problems!
This made me think that the world was becoming more fragile and dangerous
To be continued