Searching for Gold

Aug 1, 2017 by

Searching for Gold

When I was a teenager, I spent lots of time alone in my bedroom listening to music. Growing up in the late 60s / early 70s, who didn’t? And, depending on my mood, my taste in music varied wildly. Some days it was hard rock (Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin), while other days I listened to rhythm and blues (Earth, Wind and Fire was my favorite band) or the sweet mellow crooning of folk/pop/rock (James Taylor immediately comes to mind). But no matter what kind of music was playing on my stereo, the songs almost always had one thing in common: man’s search for gold. Okay, we’ll throw in a woman’s search, too. But don’t take the words literally. The songs referred to life in general. The meaning of things, the human quest for understanding, the raison d’etre which gets us out of bed in the morning.

 

“Whoa! What the heck is she talking about?” you’re probably saying to yourself at this point. “I know what gets me out of bed in the morning: my alarm clock and that dang day job. I don’t want to think about this kind of stuff. Plus, it’s the middle of summer. When I’m not at work, I want to spend time with my friends. Relax on the beach, enjoy a glass of wine, have fun. Why should I waste my time reading a blog post that takes on the meaning of life?” And just so we’re clear: I totally agree with you. Summer is the time for all things light and airy. Unfortunately, my mind refuses to cooperate… so please bear with me. And I promise I’m not about to engage on an existential rant. I’m not smart enough, or savvy enough, or spiritual enough to have things figured out, much less know where the answers lie. In fact, the only thing I DO know is this: I have no answers, and I doubt I ever will. Meanwhile, that doesn’t stop the thoughts from coming at me fast and furious.

 

And here’s the truly scary part: the older I get, the more I think about this stuff.

 

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.” I loved Led Zepplin’s STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN when I was 17, and I love it still. But sometimes, I wonder. “Ooh, it makes me wonder, Ooh, it really makes me wonder” Am I myself just like that lady? Is that how I’m doomed to spend my time… chasing after the glitter? Do I think it’s going to lead me to a better place? Time out, Kathleen. Is that really the way you want to spend the rest of your life?

 

Neil Young sang about his search for a HEART OF GOLD: “I want to live, I want to give, I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold. It’s these expressions I never give that keep me searching for a heart of gold. And I’m getting old.”

 

Me too. I’m getting old. Maybe that’s one reason I keep thinking about these things more and more. Like, do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder what you’re going to do with your day? Do you ever stop and think about what exactly our purpose in all this is… in life? Is it to make more money? To keep people happy? To make ourselves happy? I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to serve others (and just the record, I’m not talking about food). Rather, I think, it’s the lifelong quest to have some meaning, to have made a difference. For some, it’s all about family life. From the questions I’ve been asking others (and the answers they give), they find their purpose through altruism. As for me? A mixture of both, I suppose. But my family is grown; and while I love them dearly, they all live far away. We stay connected, but I’m not needed on a daily basis. So what IS my purpose? Why am I here? Exactly what am I supposed to be doing? How can I make a difference in people’s lives? Can I fulfill that need simply by writing another book? Keeping connected with my friends? Spending time volunteering for causes I believe in? Do any of those things suffice on their own? I don’t know… but I don’t think so. Which keeps me searching for that heart of gold.

 

Which leads me to another question: have you found any of your own answers yet?

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