Tonight I went to watch my cousin's band, Run From Cover, play at Jacksons in Richland. Jacksons is a sports bar/restaurant, for those of you who may not know, and they frequently have bands play outside on the weekends during summer. I typically don't go, but since it was "Cool Desert Nights" and my cousin was playing, Jeremiah and I went.
We first ate inside the restaurant with my younger cousins, until they got kicked out after 9, and then went outside for the show. We had a great time and my cousin did awesome as always, but something never feels right at these kinds of places anymore. I used to want to be out having fun and wherever the crowd was. I assumed that's where all the exciting and fun things happened. Well, years of going to clubs/bars proved very quickly that not many "exciting" nor "fun" things happen at these places. It's the same old game at each place, every time. Drunk people doing what drunk people do and acting in ways that no one wishes their child would act when they grow up. Don't get me wrong... I laughed out loud at the older drunk cowboy dancing with his lady and the drunk girl attempting to do a sexy dance for a boy who then fell, but inside I felt really sad for them and guilty for laughing. I guess that's why I feel so awkward and out of place now.
Looking back on my times spent at party-like environments, I realize all of us are looking for meaning, value, and fulfillment in our lives. Especially, high school and college age kids. One can only get so much out of alcohol and partying before they either become tired of it and long for more or get absorbed into the lifestyle and end up as many of the older drunk people I saw tonight... worn out, used up, and desperate. It seems for those who never find more meaning or fulfillment to their lives, that numbing themselves with alcohol, cigarettes, partying, and whatever else is the best option... and it sounds awful, but I agree! No one wants to go through life searching for meaning, value, and fulfillment to turn up empty handed and feeling worse than before. How depressing and hopeless. Booze and wild times can temporarily fill that void. But watch out! Because when it wears off, you will only feel worse and need more and more of whatever was filling the void.
I know many people see partying and the things I am talking about as innocent fun and I used to too. I was just shocked to see what I thought was fun and assumed would still be fun, to be more eye opening and sad to watch from the outside. I find so much more value and fulfillment sitting at home with Slurpees and candy, as I am right now, and hanging with the hubs, or playing in a sprinkler with my niece and nephew, or in Sunday lunch with my in-laws. Part of it is due to growing up and part of it is what I have found in God. What you're searching for is out there friends, you just gotta start looking in new places. But no matter what you find, I hope you find fulfillment in things of peace and goodness and things you will remember... things that will build you up and not leave you feeling unsatisfied, lonely, or ashamed.