by James Wallace Harris, Saturday, April 8, 2017
Many of my retired friends have expressed the same sentiment to me lately. It’s a variation of “I can’t believe how lazy I’ve become.” I feel that too. Although I don’t think I’d diagnose our conditions as laziness.
For some reason, we all just don’t give half-the-f*** that we used to give.
At first, I thought this malaise was brought about by the lack of discipline from not going to work every day. But I’ve also heard from friends nearing retirement about their struggles to care about their jobs. Before I quit work, I remember how little I cared for each new project. A rigid schedule didn’t make me care more.
This makes me wonder if our condition is age related. It’s as if vitality is slowly leaking from our souls. That would be quite disturbing if we still gave a full-f***. Does aging mean dwindling drive? How sucky that would be! Ironically not giving a full-f*** makes it easier to take.
I feel like Henry Bemis in that old Twilight Zone episode about a guy who gets all the time in the world to read but then breaks his glasses. Retirement meant I had all the time in the world to pursue by ambitions but my goddamn fuel for giving-a-f*** is running out! Instead of hoarding minutes to get something done, I hoard gives-a-f*** energy.
It scared me recently when I read people over 65 watch the most TV. There’s a fine line between loving TV, TV addiction, and TV mindlessness. And so many of my friends have become political news junkies. Could obsessive worry about Donald Trump be zapping our ability to give-a-f***?
I really want to find a cause that’s not aging. If I’ve got ten or twenty more years, I want to use them, not waste them daydreaming in my recliner.
Not only do we care less, but we’re moving slower. If you’re over 65, have you noticed that? Do people tell you that you’re slow? Did you see the interview with Ted Koppel and Sean Hannity? Wasn’t it so visible that Hannity was impatient with Koppel because was so slow? Is thinking half-as-fast related to only giving half-a-f***?
The weird thing about not giving half-the-f*** I used to give is it doesn’t hurt. It’s as if I hear the Sirens and don’t care about being seduced. I don’t know if this essay can help us rally.
Does noticing you care less make you care more?