“I’d Like to Change the World, but I Don’t Know How So I’ll Leave it Up to You”

What a great lyric that is from the late 60’s, early 70’s English band ’10 Years After’.  I believe this describes that uneasy feeling of discontent that sits deep in the stomach, beneath the day to day exteriors, of so many people today.  The world is like a black hole in that it seems to be getting smaller and smaller as the years go by but also heavier and heavier with each passing day.

When I was a teenager and my friends and I were taking reality obscuring substances, one of my buddies (this means you Nichol) would stop us at certain points throughout the night for a reality check.  This was just a few moments where we’d all gather our senses to make sure the world was still right and then we’d venture back into obscurity.  I feel that reality is an old world term.  There is no reality anymore.  With advances in technology came unending possibilities of if you can dream it ‘they’ can make it so.  The ubiquitous flow of information ensures that the truth is always available but never known with certainty.  It means there is no such thing as a reality check.  It’s like that dream inside a dream inside a dream.  Which reality is real anymore?  How deep does the rabbit hole go?

We are raised with pretty standard ideals of what the world is meant to be but these ideals seem to take place only in the movies.  It must be incredibly difficult for our young people to reconcile the two worlds, I know it is for me.  That which they learn as a child and that which they find has replaced it as a young adult.  Our ‘leaders’ our despicable arrogant and egotistical fools who pretend we elect them because we don’t see them for what they are.  But we elect them because we feel we have no choice.  We know what we want the world to be.  We know what it should look and feel like.  And we know it is not the world in which we live today.  “I know I’d like to change the world but I don’t know how and so I’ll leave it up to you”.  And so we continue to move forward down this path each step uneasy as though something ungood is lurking just around the next corner.

We are able to put that feeling out of our minds for the most part but our subconscious is always aware that things are off.  We have all kinds of self help books and new – new age theories that attempt to make sense of it all and explain why we just aren’t happy the way we envision happy should be.   Perhaps the only reality is the reality that the world isn’t what we had hoped it would be and we don’t know how to make that right.  I’d love to say that if we just stand up and do the right thing, act from our hearts and have good intentions that it could change the world.  But quite honestly there are ill-ententioned people that are constructing this new world in which we sub-exist.  It is ‘them’ and us but they’d never say it that way.  Certainly though their intention is not for us to co-exist along side them.

But so we carry on and we, move forward, to the best of our abilities.  We accept the good with the bad and acknowledge that everything is a trade off.  We believe that if we go to college we stand a better chance in life and so we borrow our first 10 years of post college wages to get an edge over the next guy who is doing the same.  When we get out of school we know that it is time to buckle down and get serious.  We put our ‘lives’ on hold in order to focus on the future with the idea that one day we will be sitting on the porch with the person we love, the one we put on hold for all those years and we will then enjoy our life’s work then.

But then we get further in debt because we need a sleeker car and we need a bigger house but it’s ok because we can just work a little more.  And then the kids come and as far as we got to know them they are great, I think.  But it’s ok because they just finished college and now they’ve moved back in as the job market is tough out there and so we’re paying off their student loans.  Eventually they get away and begin their life’s journey and they take their debt with them.  And then we realize, god I’m almost 60.   But it feels great because that means soon I’ll be there on the porch getting to know the one I love again and life will be grand at that point.

But then we turn 65 and we realize all those policies that were implemented by all those ‘well-intentioned’ decisions makers have actually left us with very little.  And we say it’s ok because we’d be bored anyway just sitting on the porch.  And so we take a job waving at people in Walmart but feel like OMG how did I get here.  But the shift ends and we go home anxious to spend time with the one we love because although it’s a terrible thought we are aware we’re both getting long in the tooth.  And so we arrive home only to realize the one we love is now sick and that it’s too late for our days sitting on the porch getting to know each other again.  We do everything we can but we cannot afford to help that person who stood quietly behind us all those years as healthcare costs are unrealistically out of touch with ‘reality’.  And then it hits us that despite taking all the ‘right’ steps to ensure we have a great life we failed to ever really be happy, to really love and to really accept love.  And then it really hits us, this world provides but one shot.

Well then that feeling of uneasy discontent that shadowed us when we were young is now an intense pain in our heart.  And we look out at the world and we ask ourselves how could this have happened? I did everything ‘they’ told me I was supposed to do, I did everything ‘right’!  And it becomes clear that life was a chance to change the world, but we didn’t know how and so we left it up to….

 

16 thoughts on ““I’d Like to Change the World, but I Don’t Know How So I’ll Leave it Up to You”

  1. We are living on different continents, under a slightly different cultural backgrounds and environment… but I know the feeling and gut you describe in this post.. I often have similar thoughts.. :)

  2. Was thinking the same the other day. If I could come back as anyone, at any age and any time in history I would come back as myself at 20 and cherish every minute I took for granted.

    And I’d light off more fireworks.

  3. Don’t try to change the world. You can’t. It’ll do as it pleases. Concentrate on changing/improving yourself, try your best to lead your family down the right path and maybe have some small impact on your community.

    That’s about the best any of us can hope for.

    Maybe, just maybe, if we all focus on our own tiny worlds, and get them right, then the larger world will have to bend to accommodate us all.

    Sometimes I think that we lose focus because we aren’t truly focused at all. We think in terms of the WORLD (so large it’s unintelligible) when in fact we should be bearing down on the personal. Something we can get our hands around.

    But then, maybe it’s safer to think about the world, the thing we can’t impact. That requires absolutely no action at all. Thinking about the personal, the local, leads us to the conclusion that if we just get up and move we COULD have an impact. And that won’t allow us to be bystanders.

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