Posted on October 2nd, 2018

Remote Senselessness – Getting Too Old for This

I’m becoming less resilient as I age. I think this is normal. But what my modus operandi has been for literally decades now is to travel at whim; go wherever pleases me, whenever the desire strikes. For years I could bounce back so easily. But lately, traveling takes its toll. I recently did a damn near cross country trip in three days: left on a Friday morning to start my travel at 6am to the destination, and started the return travel at 2am on Sunday. On that Friday, I arrived at the site at about 5:30pm; on that Sunday I arrived home about 5:30pm. I was only onsite for my intended travels for about 36 hours. Let’s leave out the expense associated with this, and the work that awaited me upon my return, and focus solely on the draining travel that occurred. Obviously no one made me do this; I made this poor decision on my own. But I’ve lived a life of poor decisions. It’s just now that they’re finally catching up to me. Well, the travel ones, anyways. The other poor life decisions having been chomping at my heels – if not consuming me whole – for years.

I believe I’ve mentioned that I’m simply over traveling in these here electronic pages once or twice, and it’s true: it’s just that there are things I want to do that aren’t near me; people I want to see, too. And while I’m an old curmudgeon at heart, something inside me still drives me to see these people and places, chase fun, etc., etc. But I might be reaching that point where the return on investment (of time) is no longer worth it. I’ve always marveled at how people’s past interests and friendships fade by the wayside. It still especially boggles my mind if these people/things are proximate to where you live, but I’m coming to appreciating cutting the baggage that is thousands of miles away. That isn’t to say that the friendship or the activity isn’t still potentially of value, only that the travel to get there simply isn’t. I can only imagine how much worse spouses and kids make those situations. No wonder we die inside so quickly: the external world puts too much pressure on us.

Ain’t that the truth?

There are other things that I used to cherish that are still readily accessible, that I have now turned my back on as well. I guess much of that can be explained away as simply losing interest. “There comes a time,” indeed. But this could also be looked at as a refining of the self. Perhaps becoming efficient with the use of one’s finite time and resources, not to mention one’s attention – an ever-precious, and frequently bombarded, human commodity. But it could also be laziness. We’re an apathetic people, so it only follows that after we’ve flaked out on everyone else that we’d flake out on ourselves. Again, more of the dying inside process. I guess dying on the inside precipitates dying on the outside. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, whatever your answer, the egg crumbles and the chicken becomes dinner. As do we…

The life of the mind, someone once said, is a beautiful thing. All the problems and answers are locked up in the attic regions of our brains, and we can play with them, attempting to tease them out as we wish – never easily, though, of course. So maybe that’s where I’m headed: walking up the rickety stairs to my brain, trying all the keys on my chain, attempting to gain access. None of the keys work, of course, so I’ll knock loudly. No one will answer, of course, so I’ll break a window and climb in. It will be dusty inside, cluttered with boxes, seemingly abandoned. Why, you might ask? Well, because I’ve been gallivanting around the country, living only in experience. I never stopped to process those memories. Never stopped to ask “why?” – which is okay, I guess, because now as I attempt to cut myself off from everyone and everything that is not near and used to be of importance to me, I’ve committed to introspection and reflection on what has been. So maybe my dying inside will slow down a tad, but now dying on the outside will speed up. Why, you might ask? Because I will have taken an active stance at refusing to live by refusing to travel; by refusing to see close friends who live afar; by coming to the conclusion that experiences lived are no longer worthwhile. If you want to know what aging looks like, stop living…

I’ve gotten too old for this. That age is not the same for everyone, of course, but the result is uniform. When you make the conscious decision to stop exploring, to stop chasing what has motivated you for so long, you expedite the dying process. You may not feel it, but oh yes, it has been sped up. So, if I really believe this, then it follows it is to the benefit of my longevity to struggle through the loss of sleep, weariness, excessive expenses, travel headaches, and endless questions of “why am I doing this?” But, that would be inauthentic. To struggle for no other reason than to hedge your bets would be to desecrate the things and people that once held such high value in your life. It is an existential crisis, no doubt…

Think of all the things you used to do but no longer do. Now think of all the things you cannot imagine never doing again: soon enough they will lose their place in your life, much like you flush the dead goldfish down the toilet, throw out your high school yearbook, or stop reading someone’s inane garble on social media and block them – such a terrible thing to do to your mom!

We’re all getting too old for something, every single day of our lives. I’m too old for sitting in front of the TV and watching football. I’m too old for cell phones. I’m too old for meat. I’m too old for other people’s BS. I imagine you’re too old for me – and that’s okay: I like ‘em young, anyhow!

Marco Esquandoles
Quitting Time

 

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