Ben Borgers

Things Go Downhill After We Leave

June 16, 2022

Have you noticed that things seem to always go to shit after you’re through them?

I’m talking about schools, summer camps, and the like. Whenever you hear about how they’re doing things nowadays, it’s always worse than when you were there.

I’m thinking about the summer camp that I went to for five summers. I had a great time there. Absolutely wonderful.

But soon after I was through with the camp, the camp’s longtime director moved on. Every time I hear updates from people who still know what’s going on with the camp, it sounds like things are going downhill. I’m sad for all the kids who aren’t going to get the experience that I got.

There are two possibilities:

  1. Things are actually going downhill. It’s no good anymore. It’s lame now.
  2. I’m just resistant to change.

Honestly, either could be true.

Perhaps I’m resistant to change, and everything that’s different from how it was in the good old days seems bad to me. After all, humans are famously resistant to change. That seems to be the case with some other examples in my life, but with this summer camp I’m actually not convinced — I think the spark might have disappeared through losing a fantastic camp director and then a couple Covid-influenced summers.

But it’s funny how we think about these things as generally going in one direction: down. Usually, you can’t see the things that are actually improving.

Maybe things are getting better as well, and you don’t realize that because it’s hard to realize without being in it. Or perhaps this summer camp’s magic is fading away but there are other camps that capture a similar spirit.

I’m drawn to seeing the negatives. Maybe I’m a natural pessimist. So I have to remind myself that, if lots of things seem to be going downhill after I’m through them, it might be more of a blind spot for me than a general fact of the world. It’s easier to imagine things getter worse than to imagine things getting better.