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Steven Genise and Sarah Genise

Tips for Coming of Age in the Apocalypse

  1. It may be a long time before you accept the reality, but when you do, it’ll feel like old news.
  2. The limitations of the public imagination will be distressing.
  3. You’ll second-guess yourself, and why shouldn’t you? There’s never been an apocalypse in your lifetime.
  4. Your children won’t grow up getting little scars on their elbows from running in the backyard, and that will ache. You’ll understand that your early life was wasteful and hierarchical, but it was also comfortable. You don’t need to have consistent feelings about this; it’s okay to miss it.
  5. You’ll become more grateful that you didn’t have children at all, and you’ll grow closer to your partner.
  6. Some of you already have children, and you’ll be grateful for them too, but in a different way.
  7. You’ll want to plan for the future, but it’s not possible right now. It’s okay. Learn to be flexible instead.
    Image: dried fungi
  8. The apocalypse will take longer than you expect.
  9. The house you bought will lose its color and go grey.
  10. You’ll remember these early years as being the color of sand and gravel, and with a dusty texture. You’ll call these years by their common names, but you’ll remember them as the gravel years.
  11. Gardening is harder than it looks. So is hunting. But you’ll meet people who know how to do both already.
  12. There is a vast depth of knowledge to even the most basic handiwork that you’ll probably lack. Read books about it and learn from others; don’t try to figure it out yourself.
  13. When power structures collapse, so do hierarchies.
  14. You’ll lose friends and family. Cherish their memory, but try to distinguish the pains of the apocalypse from the general pains of life marching onward.
  15. Don’t build for permanence. Rebuild when necessary.
    Image: seed pods
  16. Your body will break down before it becomes stronger. It’s okay, keep going. One day you’ll assume you’ve always been this strong, but you haven’t.
  17. Art is a human behavior, and without letting it into your life you won’t feel fully human.
  18. Remember words like PTO and deductible. It’ll feel like remembering high school exams.
  19. You’ll be surprised to realize it, but you don’t miss grocery stores.
  20. The first decade is the worst. Accept that you’re not adapting, you’re rediscovering.
  21. The rediscovery will be worth it.
  22. Trust the people around you. There have been apocalypses before yours, and none of them have been the end of the world.

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