To Care or Not To Care

Let me preface this blog by saying I have a fever and it might have fueled this rant. From my 20s to my 30s, I cared about everything.  I cared what people thought of me.  I cared about what I looked like.  I cared about my makeup and my clothes.  I cared about what kind of car I drove and how my house was decorated.  I cared about what books were on my bookshelf and what music I listened to.  I cared about the environment to the point of depression.  I cared about getting sick.  I cared about how the events of the day would effect me.  In all truthfulness, as I look back, it was all about me and how I felt.  Not really the definition of caring.
Then my 40s came, and I was tired of caring about most things.  No longer did I care what people thought of me.  I only cared about running away whether only in my mind or for a day.  I stayed the course and worked while I earned my degree, stayed responsible.  But I found inside I cared about very little.  I was profoundly sad all the time and probably drinking too much.  I didn’t care what happened because all I wanted was a different life and I became resigned to the fact that would not happen.  

I would wake up in the morning disappointed that I had woke up.  I was that empty inside.  Every day was a chore to get through and at the end of it my reward was NyQuil and dreams of the road. I stopped caring about all the things in my life and started down a minimalist path.  I lost the ability to find joy, although I have doubts that I ever really experienced true joy.

Clinical depression was talked about like it is today. I just thought I was going slowly insane.  
Then I turned 50.  Nothing changed for a while, but then everything changed.  I felt like I was drowning everyday. Then one day I wrote a note to my boss explaining why I had to resign. My reasoning wasn’t all that clear, but I knew I had to go.   She stood behind me as my crazy ideas unfolded. That is how the epic journey was born.  I got rid of almost all my belongings and felt nothing. I did not care except for a few things and many of those things have since found a new home with someone else.  As I hit the road, I still felt nothing. I tried but it was all too overwhelming. I was sure the Pacific Ocean was going to heal me. When I got there, nothing.  Nothing changed and I could not have cared less that I was there. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. 

Then I started meeting fellow wanderers and people on the fringe, for lack of a better word.  I started talking to other people and listening to their stories. I was moved by them.  I started to care again.

On this epic journey, I have met some amazing people. They have changed me as have the places I have been. I do care again but about different things. I don’t care what color your skin is or what religion you are. I don’t care where you have been only where you are now.  I don’t care how much money you make or don’t make. Car? Who cares? Home furnishings? Who cares?  I know there is a class structure in this country but I don’t care. The only thing that matters, that I care about, is how human you are. I use the same criteria for myself.  I have often said in this blog we, as a society, are losing our humanity.  We just don’t care anymore. 

Caring hurts, but so does being dead inside.  Caring takes time and time is harder to give than even money. Caring is about someone else, not just you.  All the turmoil and separation going on in this country scares me.  The person who does something caring is news because it doesn’t happen all the time. I want to relearn the meaning of caring and start living it for real.  I want others to start caring again. It is so much easier to live within the walls we construct for ourselves but it is empty. I’m tired again but this time I don’t want to give up. I want to care again. We will see how that goes…

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