Saw my parents a couple times over the last few days. It was good to have visitors for an extended time. I hardly get any visitors anymore. I guess I have hit the age where most of my friends are busy with their careers and families. Other than a few friends who are divorcees, I have only one close friend right who has never been married. Unfortunately he is quite busy with work and lives in another country.
I feel like I miss out on a great deal because I don’t have a family and can’t work. Most of my friends conversations revolve around work, spouses, and children. And sadly, many of my friends are also depressed and anxious. I guess with most of my friends being in their late 30s and early 40s, I imagine many are experiencing mid life crisis type things. That and pretty much everyone is more stressed now anyway. There are times I am quite stressed too even though I have no job or wife or kids. I spent most of this spring in a deep depression where I would go entire days without leaving my apartment. Some days I slept twelve to fifteen hours a day because sleep was the only time I didn’t feel anxious or depressed or irritable. I was isolating from neighbors and avoiding people because I was depressed and anxious and I was depressed and anxious because I was lonely all the time. And on it went in a vicious cycle.
I miss my friends and family. I miss having in depth and meandering conversations that cover many different topics. About the only person I have those with anymore are my mother. Everyone else seems to be hung up on work, debts, family, etc. They have become too busy earning a living that they forgot why they stay alive. Naturally I can’t talk to any of my friend about this. Because they are too stressed living paycheck to paycheck to engage in anything besides work and sleep it seems. And I have been having a great deal of paranoia lately that my friends really don’t like me that much.
This paranoia might spring from that most of my friends don’t reach out to me, at least not lately. Anytime I try to reach out to friends, I usually get no response. When I do get responses, they are usually short answers or complaints about how bad their lives are and how lucky I am. It’s really discouraging and sad. We tell people in distress to reach out for help all the time. Yet, what is the point of reaching out when most of time we are ignored or made fun of? And people wonder why, in spite of our prosperity and having all but conquered absolute poverty, we are unhappy and depressed. We are unhappy and depressed precisely because we don’t make efforts to connect to people or answer those who are lonely. We bought into the whole rugged individualism to where we believe we have to just bear it if we can’t solve our own problems. This is really heartless and stupid. In our age, we are far more interdependent than any of us as individuals or nations realize. And until we acknowledge this and adapt accordingly on an individual, civilizational, and species level, we will only see our issues of anxiety, depression, and loneliness become far worse. We are already seeing epidemic levels of stress related illnesses. If mental health problems got even a fraction of the attention that physical illnesses like cancer got, we would be well on our way to alleviating these problems. Yet, we as a society and individuals choose to make them worse in those around us and in ourselves.
Been feeling quite lonely for the last few days. I’m actually craving attention from other people, especially from people with similar interests and in my age bracket. Haven’t heard from any of my old high school or college friends in weeks. Seems like many of my friends got busy with family and careers and forgot about their old friends. As far as I can tell, I am one of the only single friends in my circle of friends. Some of my friends have even gone through divorces by now. I almost never hear from my brother. But he has four kids and a serious career, so I guess we have nothing in common. And to make things even worse, we weren’t close at all growing up. We were just completely different people with nothing in common except that we had the same parents. Not having a relationship with my brother is one of the few true regrets I have about my current life that I could have done different.
Having a serious mental illness taught me that there is more to life than having a career. Unfortunately, too many people don’t realize this until they are retired and most of their life is behind them. This is probably why so many people feel depressed and useless once their careers are over, especially older men. Like most boys, I was constantly asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. I usually answered something in the sciences. But the mental illness came creeping in just right before I could cash in on my brains and use them in a career. Thank God I found a small niche online as a mental health blogger/philosopher. I don’t even want to think what would have happened had I been born in my grandparents’ generation and not had this outlet. It also makes me wonder how many mentally ill geniuses were lost over the centuries because they had no outlets to use their smarts.
I wanted to be a scientist when I was a child. As it turned out I became a writer with interests in science. I developed lots of interests and hobbies over the years, but never became profecient enough to turn these interests into careers. For awhile as a child I flew model airplanes with my dad. I did quite a bit of fishing and survival training when I was in Boy Scouts. I made model cars for awhile. I collected coins and baseball cards for a few years. Still have all of my baseball cards from my youth. I taught myself some basic computer coding. That probably could have turned into a job, at least until computers can regularly code themselves. Who knows, maybe in the future the majority of people won’t have regular jobs simply because machines and programs can do them better and make many things cheaper.
While I wouldn’t mind a future like this, I do understand why some people are apprehensive about what could be coming in the next couple decades. For generations, people have identified with the work they did to live. Everybody was interested in work and a person who didn’t need or want a regular job was an outcast. I have been an outcast in this regard for the last several years in that I don’t have a regular job, and really don’t need one as I can live just on my disability pension. I no longer feel the need for a lot of money. What I want at this point is to do work that makes a difference to people, the kind of work that “puts a dent in the universe” as the late Steve Jobs used to say.
While I am not delusional enough to believe I’m sure to get famous just from blogging, I do want to make a positive difference in the lives of the people who happen to read these postings. I suppose that since my basic needs are met by my disability pension, I can now move onto meaningful work and self actualization on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Self actualized and I make poverty level (for American standard) salary, only in the early 21st century. The closet I can think that anyone else in history was to this while living at low wages is probably medieval monks and scholars. No need to be entertained with lots of money when my own mind can keep me company.