It’s a Weird Thing

(Originally published September 27, 2007)


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 It’s a weird thing to be 51. (It was a weird thing to be 21, too, but in a different way). It’s a weird thing to realize you have more past than future.

When I was a young man, it seemed like my life was leading towards something, building towards something. But as you get older, you realize its just leading towards death. Oblivion. Or whatever mysterious and unknowable Thing is behind That Door. So it changes your perspective.

You can feel like its all slipping away from you. You can get this sense of melancholy. Of existential despair. If you’re philosophically-minded, you can’t help wondering: What was the purpose of it all. All this sound and fury. All the pain. All the pleasures. When you’re young — and death seems far away — its easy to postpone that need for Summing It Up. You can spend 20 years just obsessed with getting laid. And that at least supplies a semblance of purpose and direction to your thrashings.

But as you get older, you look for something to hold onto. And yet, all your castles were built on sand. And they’re all disintegrating.

You feel especially listless if you’re on the street scene. Most street people just seem to drift through life pointlessly.

You see them hanging out, endlessly. Smoking cigarettes. Drinking beer. Getting stoned. Socializing. You see them flopped out there on the sidewalk or a park bench, you can’t help wondering: “What are people FOR?”

Well, maybe we aren’t for anything. Or maybe you just have to make up a reason for living. Or maybe some people don’t even feel the NEED to come up with a reason. Many people seem to spend their whole lives focused on nothing more than giving themselves an endless series of indulgences: I want a candy bar. I want to go to the movies. I want to buy a new CD. I want to get a hamburger. I want to go to bed. And then, wake up the next morning, and start it all over again. Then one day they die, and that was that.

In Hinduism, they call us “bound souls.” And we’re all trapped by the web of our karma. By all the limitations of our situation. By gravity. By our bodies. By our endless desires.

At its best, life is like a fascinating puzzle we all get to play with. We’re not given any rules. We’re not even sure if there ARE any rules. Like the saying goes: “That was a birth certificate they gave you, not a written guarantee.”

Oh well. Another pointless blog. Like the Pink Floyd song: “…this song is over, thought I’d something more to say…”

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