I am hoping you will respond and that it will put my soul at ease. I have been in school/training for 15 years since graduating from high school and since finishing my studies over a year ago, I have moved twice in the hopes that I will find the place where I belong. Now I am back at home with my parents and soon will be moving to a small town a few hours away and in my mind I am afraid it won't do either. How do I find where I belong or the place that feels right?
Diane of Colorado
I'm not an expert on relocation, Diane, since I live a few miles from where I went to college and a few more miles from where I grew up. I do think that work is the best reason to relocate and that if you find work you are meant to do in a workplace where you can roost comfortably, then you can endure harsh climate, bad traffic, losing teams, and lousy politics. Some people move in search of a moderate climate but they're older -- some move to be closer to family -- some because they're wanted by the cops -- but I think that good work is the steadying factor. If you have that, then you can make friends, make a life for yourself, plant a garden, get a dog, join a choir, buy a barbecue and learn to broil steaks, and all the rest of it. Good luck.
My mother retired five years ago and is living the free-form retirement lifestyle and recently, when she turned 64, I asked her how it felt and she said, "It's old." I said, "Well, no, not really," and she said, "No, it's old." I've met people older than she who enjoy adventurous lives and wonder how I can help my mother enjoy the possibilities she absolutely still has in her life. Or is there a profound sadness that I can't reach as a son?
Everyone is entitled to a little weariness, even depression, now and then, and you can't persuade your mother to feel the way you think she should feel. Not about being 64, not about much else. What can you and your mother find to do together that will make you both giddy and light-hearted? A ride on a roller coaster? A steak for lunch, preceded by a gin martini? The Adult Bible Study Class when it's taking up Ecclesiastes? Whatever it is, try to do it a little more often. Don't be her therapist.
Enjoyed the re-broadcast from 1985. More of those would be fun to listen to.
A question: How have you changed since 1985? What do you think about now as opposed to thirty years ago?
Got me thinking and, at 74, I think I'm slower to judge, calmer in temper and easier to live with but otherwise not that much different. We grow so soon old and never do get to do everything we thought we would!
For one thing, my voice is lower, Pat -- on that tape from 1985, I sounded like I was inhaling helium.
What I remember about 1985 is how I felt bewildered by the success of the show. That fall Lake Wobegon Days was on the NY Times best-seller list and I did a book tour and was overwhelmed by the long lines of people, the high ratings of the show, the press attention -- things that a person fantasizes about, especially a geeky person like me who never was really good at anything, and that makes it even weirder when it happens and it turns out to be not all that much fun. The thirsty dehydrated man falls into the lake and almost drowns. People treat you differently and it's hard to adjust to that. You're tempted to believe in your own abilities more than you should. Old friends retreat and you're thrown in among strangers. Hollywood knocks at your door. One Friday afternoon, Don and Phil Everly, heroes of my teen years, came to St. Paul and stood in my office at Minnesota Public Radio and we rehearsed a song for the next day's show in which I sang a baritone harmony part, and it struck me that life had changed. Also that I didn't know my part well enough. It was a crazy time. I look back and wish I had simply locked the doors and pulled the shades and concentrated on doing my work. It's work that makes you happy, I think. A good day of writing is absolutely glorious -- being on the cover of Time, not so much, though it did impress my parents.