Is it desperation? or something else?

June 21, 2009

I was talking to a good friend the other night, a guy my age, whom I’ve known well for more than a baker’s dozen years. A confidante. Someone who always tells me the truth. And to whom I can always tell the truth.

He’s an unusual guy. Smart. Savvy. Considerate. Caring. I’ve never met a man more nuts for his kids, now grown. He hasn’t had the easiest of lives, either. But he’s always had out-of-the-box interests and now that he’s retired, he’s able to spend more time exploring them.

But this conversation was different from any of the others we’ve had over the years. As he described some of the things he was planning to do this summer, a feeling of deep sadness washed over me.

I can’t say why, exactly.

Millions of people travel frequently, including me.

And many others visit clothing-optional resorts. Not including me.

And some people do enjoy a certain “lifestyle,” if you get my drift.

Live and let live, I say.

There was just something in our conversation that smacked of, and I hate to say it, but desperation. And I couldn’t shake the Bob Seger lyric, Moving 8 miles a minute for months at a time.

Not everyone who stays in motion is desperate. But that’s the feeling I got from my friend. And I’m not sure what he’d be desperate about.

Am I judging him? I could be. Maybe I think that, by the time you get to be our age, some of the crazy antics should have mellowed. I don’t know–maybe that’s a concession to aging that we don’t have to make.

But maybe I think we should make them. Maybe I think that as we age, it’s time to stop searching for the next thrill. That it’s good to have a richer appreciation for the deeper things in life.

Yes, that’s what I’m feeling. That the search for the next thrill seems so desperate and sad.

Maybe my feelings aren’t valid. I hope they aren’t.

But it made me feel very, very sad for him.

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