Wednesday, June 04, 2008

We've all lost it

Yesterday was a pretty bittersweet day around here. I had the opportunity to see some cousins and other family members that I hadn't visited with for several years. Considering it was in the middle of a Tuesday morning, that meant I was also at a funeral. It was for my great uncle. I hadn't seen him for a couple years either. Funny thing was, I had probably seen him more recently than some of my direct cousins, aunts, and uncles. In any case, I joined my mom and grandma for a drive up to Nevada for the funeral.

Funerals just get to me. I never used to be such a sentimental guy, but a big shake up a few years back seemed to open a direct link with my ability to empathize and find some link to whatever event is going on within my own personal life. Things like funerals hit home pretty hard now. The funeral was pretty much the same as most others I've been to, but I really enjoyed the eulogy that his 4 grand kids took turns giving. It showcased what a truly unique spirit and energy he had and how he lived his life.

That really brings me to the topic of the day. I've heard a lot of talk lately about the "greatest generation" and how their numbers are dwindling further and further. I never really considered what the term meant until yesterday. I think we're losing something special. My grandparents are part of this generation and I've been privileged to know a number of other people in this generation as well. There's just something that sets them apart. I think it's their outlook, resourcefulness, and ability to make the most out of any situation. This in turn makes them what we used to call "good people" down on the farm.

My great uncle was most certainly one of those people. While I only knew him in a very narrow sense, it was interesting to hear how his friendliness and wish to help others extended to pretty much everyone he met. Even talking with Squirrel this weekend and another time on the bike, it was mentioned that people just aren't friendly anymore. We're all too self absorbed and centered. Even our own families come second to what we want. Everyone is chasing the golden ring and those be damned that get in the way or are forgotten along the way. I think we're riding closer and closer as a culture to losing a lot of good things about humanity.

I was discussing this with my wonderful wife on our way home from an impromptu night out for coffee as my mom stopped by to watch the little one. The question we came up with is which is the cause versus the effect. Are we less friendly because we're afraid of all the weirdos and strangers out there or are there more weirdos and strangers because we're less friendly? Either way, it's a circular problem that spirals further down as we go along. That's my food for thought today.

I will say one additional comment though. I've been pretty damn lucky in the past year to meet some awesome new friends. It's refreshing to see there are still some people out there that family and friends are important to. Seriously, there are some kickass people in the cycling community and I can't wait to meet more of you and hopefully make a few more friendships along the way.

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