I can’t watch the news anymore. Nothing but depressing, stressful tales that are slowly sucking the very life out of me. It’s been a bad year, is a bad year, and I long for happier days. Like the days of my youth, adventurous, carefree and unburdened by the horrors of the adult world. If only I could go back and revisit those days of innocence and discovery and escape the social disorder that’s raging around me today. If only…
IN PLEA OF BETTER DAYS
The following is a post comment-conversation between me and my old blog buddy Bill. We were joking about a road trip back in time to the 70s where as young adults, our lives where directed by adventure, curiosity and zest for life. Unlike the stressful times we now find ourselves in.
ME — “Good call Hoss! That’s what we all need right about now. An old fashioned hippie road tour! Free love, smooth liquor and mellow weed. The Doobie Brothers playing in the background as we make our way to a new 21st century Woodstock concert. Just “don’t come a knocking when the van’s a’rockin man!
BILL — “Oh, yeah, some purple haze and Smilin’ Jack and then “…put me on a highway and show me a sign / and take it to the limit one more time…” Man, I’d give anything to be back in the ‘70s. This current decade is sh*t.”
For those of us who fondly remember growing up in a different time, this decade does seem like hell in comparison. There’s the Covid-19 virus Pandemic of course that’s still going on, and the complete social lockdown that followed, crashing world economies and unbalancing the fabric of social realities itself.
In the US, with emotions already strained by the virus — the tipping point came via social media footage of still another black American dying at the hands of a white policeman. Resulting in massive anti-racism protests country wide with bouts of rioting, arson and looting splattered and now growing within.
Add the current Donald Trump Presidency on top, with his unpresidential-like outward display of indifference to both of these issues and who the hell wouldn’t wish they were somewhere else at this moment. Somewhere even, back in time, to a more youthful happier place.
THE INNOCENCE OF YOUTH
Now if, one was really able to choose a past time-frame to revisit. Going back to the days of one’s youth as in adventurous, carefree and not yet burdened by adult responsibilities makes perfect sense to me. Because back then, as Bob Seger so eloquently put it “We were young and strong and were runnin’ against the wind.”
That at least, is how I remember growing up in the 70s to be like. Through my teens into my early 20’s, I was living life for the sake of living it! Experiencing it all — just for the thrill of experiencing it. Yet unburdened was I by worries of death, war or human depravity. After all, I was young, indestructible and out of reach of harms way. Or so it seemed to me back then!
I was still innocent of human tendencies toward violence, greed and all matters of heinous cruelties because I’ve yet learned of these evil things. In youth, I was still ignorant of man’s potential to harm, abuse or kill each other and how prevalent these acts would be — worldwide!
“I thought back then, that life was one big carnival and every thrilling ride was free”. — CorkyWK
I worried not about school, only how I socially fit in there. I cared not about money, only that I had it when I needed it. My responsibilities were to my friends and not the government. Religion was for the old, politics for the foolhardy and food and shelter I thought, was a lawful requirement.
After all, I was living in an economically prosperous country, free, safe and protected. Oh, I read the newspapers and watched the nightly news on occasion, but the horrors I was seeing were far, far away. Might have been on the other side of the world as far as I could understand.
Hunger, disease, civil unrest, the sufferings of war was what happened to other countries across the vast oceans — not mine.
In youth it seems we existed in our own little bubble, our fears, anxieties that seem so trivial today real enough to us at the time. Fitting in socially was our main concern, the dark realities of the real world not yet even on our list. Those would come soon enough and would burst our protected youth bubble for good. Along with the innocent happy lives that were living in there at the time.
Don’t get me wrong, youth is not all good times and partying your ass off. It’s more like riding on the world’s biggest emotional Roller Coaster. Where the ups are breathtaking high, and the downs stomach churning low. In the middle, plagued by peer pressure, changing physical and emotional upheaval and perplexing internal conflict. All part and parcel of the journey to self-discovery.
TIME ALTERED ROAD TRIP
Yet oh to go back one more time and feel the freedom of youth. To escape, even for awhile, the emotional stress of crisis that today blackens our day’s and gives us sleepless nights. To feel the world’s worries lift from our shoulders and experience life as a novelty once again.
Then Bill and I could take that magic van ride. — In a decked out mural painted van, slick tires humming on the blacktop of lost highways; Tunes from the 70s via 8-track pounding loud in our ears. Cracking a cold one and rolling a few in celebration as we laugh in wonder at our new, yet old, youthful appearance.
But mostly — reveling in the bubble of life that only the young can live in. The freedom, the new experiences yet to come and the prospect of once again tasting life as if for the very first time. And both of us, with not a care in the world.
“Hey man, you gonna spark that thing up or just keep smiling at it? Crack a window and pass me another cold one will ya! Hey buddy? Do ya think the girls will be wearing halter tops and short cut-off jeans…
“Man I forgot how good it can feel — just to be alive!”
So maybe It’s our youthful exuberance, our world view innocence and carefree nature that we miss the most. Mine, just happened to occur in the 70s, but that decade itself, like most others, was troubled as well in history. The Vietnam war, terrorists at the Olympic games in Munich, Richard Nixon and Watergate and the Iran hostage crisis at the end of the decade.
The only difference was, I was youthfully blessed at the time, to “not give a crap” about any of those things! And you know what? They worked themselves out — even without me!
“The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.”― Patrick Rothfuss
“We are so old, we have become young again.” ― Hanya Yanagihara