Catfish and the Meaning of Life

We slept later than usual.  When we finally got out of bed, we found a beautiful clear day and a quiet campground.  There was little remaining evidence of the craziness that surrounded us over the holiday weekend.  Our life was back to normal, whatever that meant, and we settled in for a quiet day.

In the morning Jeanne cleaned the coach, which meant I had to make myself scarce.  I spent most of the morning visiting with guys in the campground.  Later in the afternoon we visited with Faye and Don before having dinner with them at a catfish place in Fayetteville.  It was an excellent meal and we ate way too much.  We returned to the coach around 9:00 PM and went to bed shortly thereafter.

This is a good time to prepare one of those meaning-of-life triplog entries.  What triggered it this time was the acquaintance of two guys I met at the campground.  I’ll withhold their names, but if they ever read this they will know who they are.  Readers of this triplog should know that these are both good men and guys you would be proud to have as friends.

The striking thing is the similarity of their stories to many others I have heard on the road.  The common elements are usually the same:  retirement, recent passing of someone close, watching the kids and grandkids make their way through life, reflection on the experiences of a long career, dealing with accumulating aches and pains and trying to decide what to do with the rest of their lives.  To be sure, most of these guys are smart, or smart enough to know they are lucky to have made it this far in life.  Mostly they all seem to have learned life’s lessons the hard way and are determined not to make the same mistakes.

After a while, the discussion usually turns to the careers they left behind.  Here again, I hear the same stories about bosses, co-workers, screw-ups, etc.  The common theme is “Despite the obstacles, I tried to do my job the best I could.”  They talk about their careers with a strange mixture of pride, bitterness and confusion as to what it all meant.  To a man, all are happy the working years behind them.

It is usually a hard thing to realize you are not so different than everyone else.  This is one of those moments.  Except for my age, I’m right in the middle of the demographic wrestling with the same issues, thinking about the same things and dealing with the same demons.  Like the two good men from the Beaver Lake Hide A Way campground, and many others I met, I think about what it all meant and wonder what the rest of my life will be like.  Deep down, my little voice says “Why are you wasting time thinking about this?  In the cosmic scheme of things, you life is insignificant!  Get over it and move on!”  My little voice is usually right, but I’ll keep thinking about it anyway.

I wonder if others have similar thoughts?

Oh, never mind.