It Doesn’t Seem So Bad When You’ve Lived Through It

Robyne Stevenson
3 min readAug 9, 2023


Photo by Josep Castells on Unsplash

I enjoyed Oppenheimer. I knew the ending. We survived the cold war.

Time as an agent of distance makes bleak things seem less awful. I lived through the aftermath of the Oppenheimer era. I participated in “duck and cover” exercises as a child. I was frightened, but we all survived. Was it that bad?

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

I’m thinking about this as I realize my heightened anxiety and sense of defeat and doom in the current era—the possible end of democracy, the Ukraine, the Planet. White nationalism, fascism, and authoritarianism seem like a heartbeat away. Daily reminders of the destruction upon us from climate change seems unreal.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

We may not make it. This may not be a passing era but the end of all eras. I had to stop reading umair haque posts regualarly. I think he’s close to correct and it’s too apocalyptic to handle. I highly recommend his work.

Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash

Hindsight is not 20/20. It’s rose-colored glasses. It’s why white people don’t understand the unbearable inheritance of slavery and Jim Crow that current-day descendants experience. I can say the “bomb” was not that bad, but I am not a descendant of internment camps or Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

Our lived experience is viewed through the lens we choose. Climate change is upon us and people remain oblivious. They assume the rantings of a teenager (now adult) Greta Thunberg don’t apply to them. People rationalize — I recycle! People blame — China and India are worse! I saw a news report of record-shattering flooding in Juneau because the Mendenhall glacier is melting faster than previously understood. What can I do?

What the scientists said would happen is happening right now. We are living through some dark days. We’ve all lived through some version of dark days — war, the bomb, racism, riots, assassinations, natural disasters, and now climate change. It’s unfathomable that we are living in dark times and yet that seems to be part of the human condition. We live through them and then say they weren’t so bad.

I hope we live through climate change to be able to say it wasn’t that bad. Dawn or bomb? You decide.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash



Robyne Stevenson

I travel the country in my Airstream meeting people and enjoying life. I’m a writer. I was a Professor of Politics. Things change.