Sometimes i just want to give up.

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Submitted by scaredyclassic on July 17, 2020 - 11:25pm

I dont know. Googled an old friend to discover hed died a couple years ago.

Kid got in a noninjury accident.

Work, life feel oppressive. Death is all around us.

I have so little fight for life in me. Sometimesbi think s gentle breexe could waft me across the river styx.

Things seem pointless. You live, you do your thing, you die. It doesnt matter if you lived a life of actually incredi le adventure as my friend did. Or are a dull conservative bore like me.

He was amazing. I hadnt checked in for a while . His obituary made me jealous 4 a moment. But i was always jealous of him and his risk appetite and brilliance. I was always surprised he hung out with me at all

Feel like i cant hang, sometimes, over normal life shit.

No alcohol to paper over it. Just the raw vulnerability of it all.

I have a few chances id like to take i guesd i better get going.

Submitted by svelte on July 18, 2020 - 8:17am.

Sounds like you are similar in age to me, scaredy. within a decade i'd say.

There are days I feel like the above, but not many. I believe you'll see things in a whole nuther light when you have grandkids running around. I'm assuming you don't yet since your kids are just reaching college age.

We had our kids very young so we are enjoying a few grandkids now. They help me see the world through their eyes, as they discover new things...their eagerness to learn, their amazement at the strange things on this earth, their energy. It can't help but rub off.

I'm reaching the point where I can see the apex. It's actually not that far away. So I've given careful thought to how I want to spend the final years of my life, spend the money I've carefully collected, what I want my legacy to be. Any doctor trip I could return with the knowledge my remaining time may be measured not in decades but in years or months. What do I want to leave behind?

I've come up with four things.
- If I die first, I want my wife to be financially secure. If she wants to remarry that's fine, but I don't want her to HAVE to remarry. I've got this one in the bag.
- I want to leave my kids a good chunk of change. Once my wife passes, I want to have made their life a little easier. Not enough so they never have to work, but enough so that they can afford to not worry. I'm pretty much where I want to be here also.
- I want to leave a written and visual history of our life. I do a lot of genealogy, and for hundreds years past all I pretty much have are names and dates. It gives me very little insight into who these people were, what they felt, what they valued, how they lived their lives. Thank goodness for census records or I wouldn't even have names and dates. So I want to record my life in a written autobiography. Not so much for public consumption, but to be handed down to future generations. Future generations will have it better, there will be a lot of on-line artifacts for them to draw upon. But it will tell a fractured story - I want to leave a more complete profile, from birth to (almost) death.
- I want to leave genealogical record as deep as I can get it with the artifacts available to me today. There is a lot of stuff out there - much more than I ever realized. But it is still mostly names and dates. Two exceptions are newspaper articles (mostly 1850+) and military records. Oftentimes they will give deeper glimpses into people, especially if they applied for a pension.

Note they are all family-focused goals. I figure any mark I make on the world at large will quickly be wiped out by the constants waves of advancement by the billions of others on this earth (a good thing), swept away like footsteps on a beach.

Sorry for getting long-winded, but that is what I've decided I want to leave behind when all is said and done.

Submitted by svelte on July 18, 2020 - 8:23am.

Another thought: I too check up on old friends and classmates. It brings things into sharp focus when I find one that has passed - some in their 30s and 40s. I can still hear their voice in my head, but they are gone.

As soon as I pass and their other friends and family pass, even those memories are gone.

A couple of years ago I reconnected with a guy I hung out with in high school. He stayed local to where we met while I've been all over. He passed away about 3 months ago and his daughter sent out a FB request for any photos anyone had of her father so they could be shared at his memorial. I sent her photos from high school and a trip he took with me to northern California. She was thrilled! She could hardly believe her father ever did the things in those photos. She learned another side of him that she would have never known otherwise.

Submitted by zk on July 18, 2020 - 12:12pm.

Let go of the tendency to want things to be other than they are.

Desire is suffering.

And all that.

You've done the mindfulness thing, so you know what I'm talking about.

I have a very similar tendency towards wondering why. And towards feeling like "i better get going." But as I accomplish a few of the things I want to accomplish, I find that any lifting of the "i better get going" feeling is fleeting. I feel like I’ll always want more.

Svelte has given some great, concrete examples of what a "complete life" might include. And maybe that (striving toward a life that would feel complete) would be a better way to go. I don't know. I just feel like you (meaning you, scaredy, or me, or people like us) might spend a whole life chasing some kind of complete life, feeling all the while that it won't be enough, and then at the end feeling it wasn't enough.

I remember when Don Zimmer died a few years ago. I remember thinking, “what a great life this guy had. Played baseball for a living. Had millions of friends. Loved his kids and grandkids. Always seemed to be having a good time.” Then I thought, “yeah, but he’s dead now. Was it enough? What did it mean?”

If I lived that life, a life about as close to perfect as I can imagine, what would it mean? Would it mean anything different from my life? If I lived his life, but with my personality, would I be any happier than I am now?

And to me that last question is the key. And I think the answer is no. You may be familiar with the studies that say that, other than for a brief period, winning the lottery doesn’t make a person happier, and getting paralyzed doesn’t make a person less happy. A person’s happiness level is pretty much set, and life circumstances don’t have much to do with it in the long run. So changing what happens in your life isn’t likely to make you happier. I’m not sure whether “more fulfilled” is the same thing or whether it applies here. But I think it probably does.

The takeaway there, if one is down with all that, is that to “get going” might not be the answer. If you could make your life into whatever you’re imagining that it could or should be, even if you could somehow magically turn it into a life like Don Zimmer had (or whatever a great life looks like to you), would you be happier than you are now? Would you feel like your life was complete?

--

As far as what might actually succeed at changing our happiness set point, I’ve only ever heard of one thing that can accomplish that, and that’s regular meditation. Studies have shown that regular meditation can cause changes in the brain and make you happier.

I meditate regularly, and it does help. But my commitment to meditating and my meditating habits aren't as strong as they might have to be to live a life without wanting things to be more or better. Ironically, I feel like if I improve my meditating habits and carry over my mindfulness to all my waking hours, I will be able to let go of the desire for things to be different, and things will be better then.

Which brings me to a question for you, scaredy: Are you still into the whole meditating/buddhism thing? I can't say that meditation has put me in a place where I fully accept things as they are, but I think you're more into it than I am, and I was...hoping, I guess, that a more accomplished meditater would have gotten something significant out of it. I’m curious to hear how (or if) it has changed you.

As Svelte is doing, my dad left a very complete record of his life for us. And I find it fascinating to read/look at. And I’m doing the same, along with pursuing other things that I think will make my life more complete. I’m also meditating, which does help my general state, but also in an attempt to be able to not want things to be other than they are.

Maybe ideally we would strive to live our best life and try to leave something behind but at the same time not constantly wonder if it’s enough or wish for more. Easier said than done.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on July 19, 2020 - 12:03am.

Yes. Dammit. I forgot i was a buddhist for a minute there. Thanks 4 reminding me! Maybe hit me in the head with a stick next time

Grr. Death and fear and worries and pressures catches me unawares.

Song we [used to ] sing at deerpark monastery in escondido as people arrive:

Happiness is here and now,

I have dropped my worries.

Nowhere to go, nothing to do,

no longer in a hurry.

Happiness is here and now,

I have dropped my worries.

Somewhere to go, something to do,

But I don’t need to hurry.

https://youtu.be/Q5kteKBfQ0I

My first visit, i was so embarrassed to sing this song with all these people on sunday, holding hands in a big circle for godssake.

Young monk with a guitar and a giant smile leading us all in our off key warbling.

I thought i hated group spirituality stuff but...you get into it...you see new people kinda awkward like u were at your 1st visit.

Thinking ike...wtf is with the songs???? R these people furreal?
You dont really sing because its just too embarrassing.

But later youre belting it out. Fuck it. Who cares what newbies think. Theyll come around or not come back...

I miss it!!!!

You kind of get over the goofiness of it and the lyrics of thich nhat hanhs song and the profundity hit you

Buddhism , meditation, its a practice. Ive been way in practice. Lately im out of practice

(Worst shutdown loss for me is no day of mindfulness at deerpark every week. So glad i got to the retreat in feb before they shut down.)

Just knowing theyre there doing their monk nun thing makes me feel better. Send them money every mo. Got info on leaving a bequest.

So easy to get off track. Thats why i need this derrpark monastery to get back. But when. It could be years. Or not in my lifetime. :(

Need to get my own practice back on track.

I was meditating over 60 mins at a clip ....

Now 10 is taxing again.

Its always there to come back to.

I get shaky, scared and hurried. Pressured. Squeezed.

But its not real...or at least it doesnt have to be that way.

I still in moments feel crushingly overwhelmed. My friend who died, he lived without my brand of fear. Quit a tenure track prof. Position at an ivy league school. Expert in obscure research area. Quit to go a completely diff. Direction.

A brilliant, open, relatively fearlesstruly adventurous human.

Im just getting dumber and more shutdown and more scared by the day. More kids...more gtandkids...a larger circle of people to fear for. My mom, my wifes mom...they worry so much...such a large circle of potential disaster

Submitted by svelte on July 19, 2020 - 10:50am.

I'm so tired of being tired.
As sure as night will follow day,
Most things I worry about,
Never happen anyway.

- "Crawling Back To You" by Tom Petty

From Wildflowers - a great little album
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQsqMndoM9E

Submitted by scaredyclassic on July 19, 2020 - 11:51am.

We bought that cd new when it came out. Listened to it 100x.

The tiny bit of success ive had in life feels so hard won, precarious and small. Im a small weed, a bit of dandelion fluff

Submitted by svelte on July 19, 2020 - 11:55am.

scaredyclassic wrote:
We bought that cd new when it came out. Listened to it 100x.

us too. When my kids were young we as a family played it all the time. In the garage while completing projects, in the minivan on the way to school. It was the soundtrack of our life for about a year.

scaredyclassic wrote:

The tiny bit of success ive had in life feels so hard won, precarious and small. Im a small weed, a bit of dandelion fluff

yeah, we all are. I'm pretty introverted so I'm perfectly comfortable with that. As long as I leave things a little better than I found them, I consider it a life that was worth living.

To hard won, precarious and small I would add "fleeting".

Submitted by scaredyclassic on July 19, 2020 - 10:18pm.

Feel exhaudted all the time.
Heat and the threat of covid

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