THAT DRIFT AWAY FEELING
This is a bit of advice, and some thoughts about my favorite song, all sort of mixed together. Please comment nicely!
The older I get, the harder it is to fight that drift-away feeling. It's not sadness, exactly. It's not even anger. It's just a feeling that nothing matters anymore. Life has no meaning.
"Drift Away" by Dobie Gray describes exactly how I feel. "Beginning to think that I'm wasting time/I don't understand the things I do/The world outside looks so unkind/I'm counting on you/To carry me through/Give me the beat boys and free my soul/I want to get lost in your rock and roll/And drift away."
I'm fifty-seven years old. I have no wife, no kids, just a few real friends. I work a couple of part time jobs, but I don't really have a career. I have some money in the bank, but its inherited money. It's enough to get by for now, but not enough to feel really secure. I'm in good health, but lately I'm noticing a lot of stiffness and soreness that I never had ten years ago.
I feel like time is running out. Yet at the same time I feel like it doesn't matter if I keep living or quit trying. What's the point? I keep hearing on the news about people dying of some disease or another, and how sad it is when they leave behind children or grandchildren. That's not sad. Those people lived for a reason, and when they died they left something behind. When I die nothing will be left behind but these words. Now that's sad.
Maybe if I could help people it would give my life meaning. I have a couple of really nice friends who are much younger than me, and I'm always trying to give them advice about stuff. But they don't need my advice. The mistakes I made forty years ago just don't have any connection to the way they live their lives today.
Even my failures in life seem so unimportant now.
I'd like to go back in a time machine to forty years ago, when I was seventeen. I'd slap the shit out of myself! And then I'd say:
The other kids are right. Good grades are not everything. In the end good grades mean a lot less than good friends.
Your father is a sick man. He's going to die. And there's nothing you can do about it. Stop trying to be perfect to make him proud.
Always do the one thing that scares you the most.
Stop holding onto the way you've always been. It's not working. If you don't change, your life won't change.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Start talking to other people. And start listening. Other people have problems too.
Stop kicking the can down the road. Whatever is wrong with your life in high school won't magically disappear when you get to college.
Think about finding someone outside the family to talk to about your problems. Your mother and father can't solve problems they caused in the first place. You have to change. They can't change. Change frightens them even more than it frightens you!
Don't imagine life will get better as you get older. Nothing gets better unless you make it get better. Making it get better means taking risks, opening up.
Don't stop listening to Dobie Gray. Unlike your parents, he actually understands your feelings of emptiness and loneliness. Other people will also understand. But that can't happen unless you start talking to other people. Start talking. Start talking now!