Monday, June 10, 2024

I'm in my fifties and I've learned that having people in your life is a luxury requiring both money and hard work.

I'm in my fifties now, and I think I want to share some of the things I've learned about people in my home state. I'm zeroing in on it like this because I don't really interact with any people who aren't in my home state, so painting with a broad brush is not something I want to do. Anyway, here are three things that I've learned (you can call it wisdom if you like) regarding my interactions with folks in my locality:

1) People are really difficult to live with. There is so much mental illness now, that I don't think I can even understate this. I don't know if there is more now than there was a hundred years ago, or fifty years ago. But right now in 2024, everyone has got some kind of disorder, and it is used to explain unpleasant behaviors galore. "Oh that person is a complete asshole? It's because they have PTSD due to microaggressions around gender ideals and patriarchy. That's why they broke your coffee pot, didn't tell you, and left it for you to discover on your own."

However, none of this "knowledge of whatever disorder you have" ever helps. The unpleasant behaviors continue until you kick that person out of your life. You just know that the reason you kicked that person out of your life is because they had "this and this disorder." Or...whatever. Calling a toxic waste dump by its name does not make it any easier to live with that specific toxic waste dump, and people (in general) are really difficult to live with if they have any of the many personality disorders or dementias identified by the DSM. Finding a person who doesn't have some kind of damaging personality disorder is like finding a flawless diamond sitting on the ground.

2) Entertaining people for a night in your home is really expensive, and its a ton of work. First off, you need a place that's big enough to entertain a handful of people. Houses work well, but I've come to realize that not everyone owns a house and they are becoming rarer and rarer as the price of housing soars due to people squeezing every last drop out of everything so that they can "have enough money that the many problems created by living in our society no longer apply to them."

But if you are fortunate to have the space (I am one of those people), a lot of the times, the friends I invite over are clumsy (and I assume that this is probably the case with other people who "dare to entertain." These "guests" aren't aware of their flailing limbs when they are excited, or they aren't aware of their environment. These are just a couple of examples.

The result is broken furniture, broken glasses, broken plates or bowls, loud crashes as trays come plummeting to the ground, pictures hung askew because someone's backside was too large, stains and spills, couches that can't put up with the weight of obese people, and other such nonsense. In the end, it costs lots of money, and things need to be replaced or repaired, and its on you to replace them since "you were the one to have people over." Furthermore people don't seem to be aware of how much things cost. Someone admired my dining chairs and asked how much I paid for them. I replied, "800 dollars." They asked, "for the whole set?" I said, "No, $800 a piece." My desk chair over there was $2,500." That's when they kind of blink, stunned, and then maybe treat something with a little more respect.

I will say this, I'm glad I invested in quality furniture because it has gotten hammered over the years, and it is still holding up. A lot of people wouldn't be in this situation, and their furniture would just be a pile of garbage at this point. And my friends that I invite over just play Dungeons & Dragons. It's not like I'm hosting an indoor hockey tournament.

3) I think that the loneliness epidemic in the United States can be attributed a lot to the fact that no one wants to entertain anymore because they can't afford it, they don't have the space, and it's a lot of work to clean up after people. So they just choose to go it alone.

I remember from my youth that people always had my parents over or I went to places that entertained. But those days are gone. They don't exist unless I'm the one putting it together. I'm fortunate to have the space and the money to be able to entertain, and because of that, I have a pretty good social network. But the work is pretty intense. Cleaning up after people consumes probably six to seven hours a week of just constant toil (this on top of my forty hour work week). Washing things, putting away things, organizing things, repairing things, etc. There are times when I think: it would be so much easier just to not ever invite anyone over. But there would be nothing else that fills the vacuum that I fill in my friend's lives. In other words, I think the social aspects of the community I belong to would probably just fall apart.

TL:DR: Having people in your life is expensive (having friends is a luxury?) and takes a ton of work. If you aren't willing to do the work and you don't have the money to clean up and repair everything that gets broken, then you're probably going to be lonely. Anyone else discovering this truth about being an adult in the United States?


  1. You should join Bluesky. My "Discover" feed is so full of doom and gloom posts. It's like a whole herd of Offutts.

    I never entertain because I have no one to entertain. Even my family hasn't visited my place since I moved in 9 years ago. So there, out-doom and gloomed you.

    1. @Pat: I don't think my above post is doom. It's just being as factual as I can be about having people in your life from my experience. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong? If so, is there anything constructive you can add? Also, looking at your statement of "I have no one to entertain," I'd like to ask as some "discovery" questions, do you even have the space to entertain? Would you be willing to clean up after them? Would you be willing to let them break your furniture or to make spills on your floor? And this is before they even open their mouths to converse with you. Are you willing to feed them and to prepare food for every guest? If the answer is "no" to any of the above, I would say this is a good reason you have no one to entertain. Let's not put the cart before the horse.

    2. Yes your post is probably more gloom than doom.

    3. @Pat: So, what I'm I allowed to blog about then to stay away from gloom and doom?

  2. Entertaining is a lot of work.

  3. Fortunately I don't have many 'disorders' people in my life and the last one at work left over a year ago. (Voted most likely to go postal and kill everyone.) Entertaining is a lot of work, but my wife enjoys it and does most of the work. Which is good, as people come over often. (And we go out as well.)
    Our D&D gamers bring money for the food - maybe you need to start charging a head. (And if they break your table, then you can take their head!)