There are always simpler times. All we need do is listen to a piece of music, muse over an old faded picture, open a Yearbook from high school, or meet with an old friend not seen for years, and we’re reminded of the “old days”. It seems those words are some of the first to exit our lips as we reminisce and in truth, they were simpler times. 

There wasn’t the responsibility of being adults with possessions that drain our hard earned money. Family with kids certainly complicate things as everyone has their needs, wants, and desires we try and fulfill. The growing up process is hard, for parents and children, but one that we humans engage in regularly either willingly or sometimes unwillingly, each with its own set of circumstances. 

Our sense of who we are and how we fit into le grand schéma also becomes heightened as we grow older, and we question not only our role in the world, but our position in that world. Lives are no longer simply get out of bed, play and then go back to self-induced unconsciousness. We complicate our lives each day, piling on more and more until our minds become so overloaded, we can no longer sleep, sometimes can’t eat, but always wanting more. We are our own worst enemy.

In the modern world, we supplement all of that with forays into social media that do little more than heighten our already overtaxed senses. Now, added to the metaphorical pile of books we drag behind us as a ball and chain, we bombard our senses even more with what, in the end, is little more than trivial mind fodder which further stresses us out, complicating our existence much more than need be. If our brains could talk, they’d tell us to quit it all, as the processing system is bogged down to the point of short circuiting. Sometimes it does short circuit, and for that unfortunate person, they lose any sense of morality and act out in a way that attempts to destroy themselves, others, and the vehicles that contributed to their madness. Make no mistake, it is madness, a cry for help from an overburdened brain that finds its redress in destruction of that which caused it, the internal affecting the external.

Sometimes the madness is more subtle, and we simply shut down, crying when we’re alone, staring blankly at a wall while our mind attempts a hard reset, or withdrawing into ourselves. Others around us don’t know what to make of it, and neither do we. They keep telling us our brain is the ultimate computer, so if that’s the truth, then it would follow that sometimes a hard reset is needed. The question then becomes how.

There comes a time, an age really, when none of that matters.  You begin to realize that what you thought were the most important things in this life were little more than hurdles to overcome. Age has a way of enlightening us all, taking the mountainous cares of our youth and middle age, and reducing them to rubble. I think it’s life’s way of stripping our brains of all the encumbrances that we imposed on ourselves to allow us some semblance of peace as we approach our collective end. Some won’t enjoy that gift either, preferring to wander the madness they’ve allowed life to create for themselves, while others will embrace the calm and go gently into that good night.

In the end however, when we reminisce, we’ll always refer to those simpler times. More nostalgia than anything else, but simpler nonetheless, just like our last years, often simpler still. Bookends on a lived life. Petty differences, those walls that we construct for reasons even we don’t understand will dissipate in the end, just as they weren’t there for most of our youth. We were taught to build those walls, either by those influential in our lives, or by society’s decrees. Little children don’t have such walls until we teach them, and in our old age, we come to realize that those barriers were never permanent anyway, only that we allowed the illusion of permanence to remain. That’s what they are, illusions of our own making, coming down at last in our final years. Back to the simpler times of our youth.

Here’s to destroying those illusions, all of them, a few years early.