Sunday, August 29, 2010

3067 Running Away

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Definition: Omphaloskepsis - Contemplation of one's navel.


Seems like a lot of people I know are thinking about running away.

A 60-something friend says he's thinking about turning his business over to his offspring, selling off everything he owns and distributing it to his heirs so he doesn't have to feel responsible for them any more, and retiring to a little seaside cottage in Italy.

A young friend says I shouldn't worry if she suddenly drops out of sight, she'll keep in occasional touch, but without a forwarding address. She wants to give up her house and possessions, just walk away, and wander the country camping and living in her car, picking up odd jobs, just simplifying life.

A middle-aged friend says as soon as he has an empty nest, he's dropping out and running away.

One late middle-age friend has family depending on him from three different directions. The pressure is enormous because, of course, every one thinks he or she is more important than the rest. He'd like to disappear, but doesn't know how, and feels guilt because he wants to.

I'm not sure any of them would really do it, but they all very much wish they could, and the very things they want to get away from are the things keeping them trapped in place.

These are the friends who have told me about their feelings. How many others feel that way, but haven't said anything?

The stress is just too high. Too much is expected of people. They have a lot of heavy obligation and responsibility with very little reward for all that effort, and the spiral keeps getting larger and larger. It's worse when people tell them they should be happy - after all, they have a wonderful close family, a steady job, a successful business, a beautiful home - but those are the very things that are killing them.

We need a social revolution. We need to say "Stop! Slow down! I can't do it all for everyone!" Maybe we need hippies back (although most of the hippies I knew were trust-fund hippies).


Becs said...

As my mom said when I was six years old and helping me pack my suit case to run away, "You can go anywhere you want to, just don't cross the street."

the Gypsy said...

Hippies, real hippies that I've met, are flakey, ignorant, stupid and smelly. They are passive-aggressive and really don't have a grasp on reality. Maybe the whole "communal living" thing should be given a second try, because everyone isn't tripping on LSD anymore.

If people would just do their fair share, the world wouldn't be in such dire straights. But people, mostly Americans, have this attitude of entitlement, that makes them feel that they don't have to do their fair share, and when they are asked to do just a little more than they have been accustomed to doing - which is not much at all - it's like they were asked to carry the weight of the world.

What we really need are more sabre toothed tigers...

~~Silk said...

Sabre toothed tigers - ROFL!

In all my examples, the people are working very hard, two of them work multiple jobs, 16-hour days. Much of their stress comes from people who expect support from my friends, although they are not willing (or are unable) to work as hard. The stress is increased on my friends by fears of losing their jobs.

Tigers would solve a lot of problems....