Lately I've been contemplating the meaning of life. I know it's a lofty pursuit, but for the first time I'm approaching the question honestly shedding preconceived notions that have been force fed to me. By meaning of life I mean to figure out MY meaning. Aside from why the hell humans exist, I need to figure why The Last Unicorn exists. What are my goals in life, what is (for lack of a better term) my destiny.
I've shed the remaining shards of my decidedly (though self-motivated) religious up-bringing. I respect religion (to a certain extent) and am thankful for its part in my life. I don't think I would be the woman I am today without that sojourn into something much larger than myself. Some of my fondest adolescent memories are from my many summers at church camp. So a theistic angle is not my motivation for getting up in the morning. I could get into why, but that's an entirely separate blog entry. Suffice it to say that I won't live my life by fear and guilt.
With that said let's move on to the almost as holy as god pursuit MONEY! Well that's a moot point. I hate money. I think the wage system is slavery. I got a college degree so I can work as a nanny and volunteer ha ha! I need money to eat and hopefully to travel. Anything else is just icing on the cake. If money becomes my life pursuit I give you fair readers permission to shoot me dead. Just don't spend too much moola on a funeral!
Next up on the docket, spreading my seed (look I've got seeds too, I just don't shoot them out of my wiener). With that said, I don't have a burning moral need to pro-create. Yes, I am a woman and cannot completely ignore the human biological need to make a baby and nurture the hell out of it, BUT I will ignore this as best as I can. If I can't NOT nurture I'll adopt. It's a lot easier than you think! But alas, at this juncture in my life having my babies till dinner time is all the nurturing I need. That and bugging my boyfriend about eating his fruits and vegetables! There are literally millions of Perez's in the world who are making plenty of babies so I think I'm cool with my 'name' living on (that's so hokey anyway). So a mother I may be someday (maybe to a guinea pig), but it is not my priority and/or life pursuit. Though I respect that some women contend to the fact that they were born to be mothers (isn't anyone born to be a father?).
I don't see myself obsessively pursuing any one subject (as my interests tend to ebb and flow like crazy). I am committed to the idea of alleviating the needless suffering of humans and animals, but this is true, I am only one woman. Eventually I may devote much of my time to some kind of social or medical not for profit work, but that is only a means not an end. I will never end suffering, prejudice, or wrong doing. It will always be what I do, not who I am.
Am I searching for knowledge? Well of course, but nothing is absolute what is true today may not be true tomorrow. I think that knowledge is the key to viewing each other in a truly human way and ignorance is dehumanizing. But knowledge gaining is an inevitable part of life, in many ways it is a very unconscious pursuit. Sure I will always seek new perceptions and blurbs of enlightenment, but when asked what I want to do with my life saying that I've accumulated a wealth of knowledge would be silly. Like money, on my death bed what is all this knowledge going to get me? All I can ask from knowledge is the opportunity to live an honest and clarified life.
What are my personal motivations for living?
My ideal life is a combination of constantly seeking beauty in the world and (all) people, good food, good company, decreasing suffering when I can, and ultimately resolving inner conflict.
I feel as though resolving inner conflict is the only thing that will truly benefit me during my life and also on my death bed. Did I live the best life I could? Do I have regrets? Was I a good friend sister mother lover? Is that my main life pursuit? Perhaps my destinies are many and my 'meaning' an ever changing wraith, but in the end have I resolved the conflicts that lie within my mind, because perhaps all of life is an elaborate series of contrivances to distract you from the fact that you are dieing so all that really matters is how you feel about your self and actions.
That may sound self-absorbed but the beauty of the resolution of inner conflict is that you are your harshest critic. If my actions don't align with my feelings I must ACT to RESOLVE. The magic of living is that when meaning is in the hand of the beholder it can be fantastic, adventurous, and well always meaningful (if you so deem it)! So is it okay not to have a solid graspable measurable life goal? Or am I just a weirdo? What is your life pursuit? Your greater purpose?
Oh, I don't know, ha ha. Maybe I will change my mind about all this tomorrow or be struck by an all consuming tangible purpose! For now I'll count down the days until spring.
John Updike died on January 27th and I didn't find out until yesterday. His short story "A&P" moved me as a very young adult. I can say that I've never read anything else by him, but the narrator of "A&P's" quiet rebellion has always resonated with me. RIP, mister, thanks for instilling in me the courage to take a "stand for [my] version of what is right, [in the] face of disappointment."
Carpe Diem, chumps!