October 13, 2023

From Gerald R. Lucas

The Struggle

Everything seems to be such a struggle these days. I wonder if this is the general sense that people have as they get older? Maybe that's why these conservatives long for the good ol’ days when things seemed simpler because they were younger. More resilient. Simpler. I’m not saying it’s true that things were simpler, but that I was . . . what, less ossified? Flexible?

It really does seem like there’s much more angry resistance these days. Maybe there is. Maybe it’s justified. If fact, I’m sure that much of it is justified. I know: all of this sounds pretty nebulous. I’m not going to get into specifics. For one, I’m exhausted after this week. And two, it wouldn’t do any good.

I can see a trend in my behavior over the last decade of pulling back into myself. I’ve always been an introvert, but it seems as if I’m become a more introverted introvert. The outside world still interests me, but it seems like there’s nothing I can do about it spiraling out of control, nor do I have anything to offer. What do I have to offer? At least when I narrow my environment, I feel like I still have some agency.

Criticism never used to bother me, but these days it seems as if I incur much more than I used to—so much that it feels I’m not really good at anything, so I don’t want to do anything. That for someone who’s supposed to be educated, I’m really not. Maybe I’ve never been smart. Maybe it was luck, and now my luck has run out. Ran out years ago, really.

Maybe that’s it: no matter how hard I try, how much I read, how many years experience I have, I’m still not good enough.

I know: this doesn’t make much sense without some concrete examples. I’m not going to indulge. It seems to be easier just to give people what they want. Truly. What do I know anyway?

I’ve given over two decades of my life to higher education, but if I were to die today, I don’t think there’s anyone outside of my immediate family and a couple of friends who would even care. And I’m certain there would be more than a few who might actually celebrate. How did I get here?

Why does everything have to be such a struggle?