Today I met Mike. He offered to push one of the two strollers I was trekking down to Waterloo Park. We were on our way to the splash pad so the kids could enjoy it one last time this summer. Mike is 72, was born in a house on Albert Street near the above mentioned park and as we walked together he told me many stories about the history of our city.
He told me of a doctor who lived in one of my favourite old houses. How he had once been in the house to get blood work done as a child. He told me about the festivities that used to take place in the park. How everyone would run there together and how everyone at that time knew each other.Did you know that there were horse and bike races there in the big field where the men now play cricket? I bring my kids there often to play on the hills while I train by running up and down the hill…
He walked us there and then left us as he continued on to the tennis club. After we shook hands and he turned to walk away I wished him a lovely time playing tennis. And he walked on. Just as I was about to begin my hill running he turned back around and with tears in his eyes struggled to explain to me that he had recently had a heart attack and could no longer play. And then he was gone.
Later on as I was sitting watching all my kids playing in the splash pad Mike sat down next to me. He apologized for being emotional earlier and explained to me how part of his life had been taken away from him because of his age. We discussed the differences between our generations. When he was my age he explained that all he thought about was having a family, going to work and making sure to eat three meals a day. That’s how he actually worded it. It sounded simple and… as I have described my theory before of people who look crazy to the rest of us but are probably just in a happy place in their minds…and in the end…that’s all that really matters…I told him how I’ve noticed my generation is all about struggling against what is expected of us in order to figure out our true selves and what sincerely makes us happy and feel fulfilled. He never thought about those things back then…still doesn’t.
Mike was lovely and I’m really glad I had an opportunity to chat with him today. I’m becoming more and more open to whatever is sent my way each day…open to accept what the universe sends me. (and so I am quite thankful of today’s encounter) And here’s where I wonder…
Mike’s generation wasn’t overly complicated. They wanted to get married and have kids and I guess eat good food. Today we are worried about whether we’ve made the right choices, if we are doing good for ourselves and our children, if we can find our true selves, and our inner voices. Seems so much more complicated now.
I wonder; with advances in technology, gender equality, sexual orientation, etc…are our eyes more open or are we just greedy?
I see people around me who are aging…slowing losing their younger selves and everything they were once able to do…and possibly the things that they used to define themselves by…and they are…getting lost. But they all seemed so content at my age. If they had a couple of simple achievements under their belts and a family to share them with…they were good. Of course this is generalizing but the majority of those I know…this is how they would describe their 40s. So now as they get older into their 60s and 70s…maybe it’s only now they are realizing they were missing something…I don’t know…It makes sense that Mike feels like part of his life is being taken from him. He used to do things he can no longer do. He didn’t ask for much over his life time. He was happy with simple life luxuries…and now he doesn’t even have them.
Now looking at our generation…we aren’t willing to be happy without solving life’s mysteries. We need to delve deeper and explore further into ourselves, into the meaning of lives, our inner artist voices, and many of us are choosing to not have a family at all in order to dedicate our lives to finding our absolute truth before it is too late.
(A friend of mine is a perfect example of this. You can see his video on his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/rlangrehr?fref=ts)
I wonder if we’ve some how gone to the extreme. Wouldn’t it be lovelier to just enjoy the simple things in life like love, and joy, and all the beauty around us? We could breathe deeper, and love harder, and just learn to be present and be. We seem to have somehow pushed beyond that. (again, I am generalizing and there are still some people of our generation who do find happiness in simplicities…I just wonder….if that happiness is what we’ve been told to be happy with? Or perhaps it’s what we’ve been told we should never settle for. Is there a middle ground with all of this?)
So…have we learned to struggle for truth because it is the path humanity should be taking? …Or is this a path we are creating as we all crave more.
Will it eventually get to a breaking point when we no longer need people to do every day jobs…when we can sit at home and have everything delivered and can contact anyone in the world at any time…while we calculate and articulate every nuance that lives inside our souls (sounds like excellent breeding grounds for some amazing modern literature at least) when our world becomes so small that this magic bubble of knowledge pops and we destroy ourselves and the world we live in?
Perhaps we can start over from there. Back to basic farming for our food and home schooling and sewing our own clothes and those other simplicities of life that on principal sound so euphoric. But then the question left in my mind would be…what the hell is going to happen to our children? If we are where we are today…where does that leave our children when they are 40 and struggling to understand…life. Probably vacationing on Mars…