September 17, 2009

Growing old, growing tired, or growing up?

There is a common thread running through most conversations I'm involved in lately.

"I'm tired"

Now there are lots of different ways to be tired, the most common being the "beat down by life" feeling. The discussions that I find myself in seem to run the full spectrum of self pity. We have all used the litany of reasons for exhaustion... Friends and acquaintances, along with myself, are getting older. This would be the easy answer, the one that's quite literally staring us in the face.

I have always been an observer, hovering on the sidelines watching as life takes place around me. A condition I have, whether right or wrong, placed at the feet of acute shyness. So I decided to play to this strength, or weakness, and watch for a while. What I have seen is a group of people who are trying desperately to hold on to youth by acting the way they did twenty years ago.

In the past couple of years I have dealt with some harsh realities of life and have permanently taken a few lessons that came with them into my psyche, for better or worse. I have spent years abusing myself with overindulgence on all levels, it was easier when I was younger, but these days it seems to be rather boring. Many years ago I made a rule that I was done babysitting drunk people. If I went out with anyone who wound up ridiculously intoxicated, I would simply leave them to their own devices. I reached the end of the "pick me up and make sure I get home" mindset, a rule I have faithfully adhered to for more than twenty years. Besides, you can clean vomit out of your car only so many times before it gets really old. I thought about this rule and how it has affected my life thus far. The key to it was just to simply do it and let people have their opinions, not concerning myself in the least with their thoughts.

A wise old woman once said to me, "We make things more complicated than they really are." This seems to be the case with most people. I didn't think about her words at the time, but they have returned to haunt me. I realized that the things that have gone correctly and worked for me were done this way, simply. I made a decision and went with it. This simplicity seems to be the key to getting by with clear vision.

Life has phases as we all know. The problem seems to be what to take with you from phase to phase and what to leave behind. At times it feels as if we have no choice in this, but as with all things... we do. Everyone is a work in progress and will continue to be until we lay down and stop breathing. I have thought of all the advice I have gotten down through the years from people I consider to be genuinely wise, and it seems that they were all pretty much right in what they were saying.

The more we attempt to make our lives dramatic and busy, the more we seek the way things used to be. To be at home with family, in quiet solitude... Pursuing the things that bring peace and joy. Being a homebody makes this fairly easy for me. For each person these things are different. For me it's my wife and sons that I can look to as I create. My father told me once that children are truly the only way to stay young, and I believe that. There isn't anything we can do to alter the passage of time, yet we can reconnect with past joys by seeing the look in our childrens eyes as they experience life.

The problems arise when we let the outside world interfere with this sphere of existence. This is something that we struggle with on a daily basis, and at times its almost impossible to do. We seek guidance from many places... religion, friends, books, etc. When, in fact it is all rather simple. Examine what is there and remove what is wrong, and do it quickly because we aren't here very long and the time we have should be spent living in happiness surrounded by love. We have no need to spend our time wrapped in dramatic episodes fending off weasels.... Dammit life is for living.. and living is best done with love and peace in our hearts and smiles on our faces. Knowledge and wisdom taught to us, yet not applied, is completely useless... so learn.


Scott Thompson said...

It takes years for many of us to learn what's important: family, real friends, a good book or movie. Too bad some never learn these simple lessons.
Good post

Just me... said...

Humans specialize in complicating ever simple matters.. :):):)

Junebug said...

Amen well done and so true.
I agree with John Pender.
Wait about 10 more years and it will be even truer.

Eve said...

Too true and kudos for the Bob Marley song, I love me some Bob.

John Pender said...

I remind myself constantly: Things are only as bad as you want them to be.

Matt-Man said...

That was a damn good post. No sarcasm or anything funny from me, it was just damn good. Cheers Clay!!