Don’t waste your time always searching for
those wasted years<
Face up… make your stand
And realize you’re living in the golden years
Iron Maiden being among my favorite bands (and the band I credit with “making me metal”) and “Wasted Years” being among my all time favorite songs (and the song I credit in changing how I was a music fan in general) appear all over this blog for good reason. It appears once again because of its relevance and fortunate good timing as the soundtrack to a recent conversation.
I as recently discussing with friend the trials and tribulations of the human condition.
Specifically, he was feeling down about the intersection of a number of situations I’ve often found myself in as well, the most poignant of which was the fact that he felt he had very few close friends within close proximity of him so he felt pretty alone and the alone feeling then was affecting his self-perception of worth.
I’ve been down that road often myself. Many of the people I consider myself to have the closest bonds with spiritually, intellectually, philosophically, etc. do not live in my town, or in my state, or even my region of the country. They are a rag-tag bunch of awesomeness spread out all over the world which often leaves me to the challenges of day-to-day life dependent almost solely on my wife. While, that may sound romantic it really isn’t healthy for either of us.
This notion put me on a journey several years ago to rectify the fact that my anti-social nature and reticence to engage in forming deeper relationships was contributing to my own sadness about life. By no means have I completely fixed this problem, but having identified it I’ve been able to make some steps in at least making progress.
However, as with everything else satisfaction is a pacifier. If you allow yourself to be ok with your situation, good or bad, you’re apt to become trapped by it.
Those who don’t actively seek out new stimuli generally run into this problem more. But for my friend and I, this really isn’t our problem. We’re both active people we just sometimes let our brains get in the way. In that sense I started to outline a three aspects of how the two of us seem to function in order to put some context to what was happening for him (and reanalyze what routinely happens to me):
- an understanding of who we perceive who we were
- an acceptance of who we are in a given moment having accomplished those things we set out from who we were
- a desire of becoming who we seek to be
At no point will all three be equal, it is human nature to tip the balance to focus either on the past, the future or the present too much.
Sometimes, that desire to go back to the way things were when they were familiar and “happy” can be strong. It can undermine the situations in the present and hinder the ability to move forth toward future goals. I cannot speak specifically for my friend on this, but it’s something I can relate to and empathize with if it is the case. There was a time when it felt like more of my friends lived in closer proximity and that regular, in-person contact with them definitely had a meaningful impact on how I perceived myself and the world around me. As life took some of us in different directions and those relationships changed they weren’t replaced by new ones of the same caliber. It became easy at some points to just look band and feel like if I could only go back to what that was then everything would be better now … but I’m not convinced it would be. Rather, I need to build those types of relationships and experiences anew where I am now in life both physically in a location and emotionally as a human being.
It’s a struggle, to be sure, to remember how to balance all three elements with insightful logic and reasoning in order to achieve a zen-like state of being but it’s one I think I’m still making great strides at doing. And now, with new challenges set in front of me as I enter a new chapter of my life, it is something I’m going to have to embrace even further.