Updated: Feb 13
Youth is something which is wasted on the young. The older I get, the more I find myself thinking "if only I knew then what I know now". But, this is the nature of life. Just as one starts to experience time more quickly, the older one gets, so it seems that we start to see ourselves very differently as time goes on. Meaning, it turns out, is just as relative as time itself. And it seems that our search for it is never-ending.
So, what exactly is the meaning of life? People have been pontificating this question for as long as there have been people. Most of the better-known philosophers have posited this question, and have answered it within their own realms of experience as best they could. I believe that this is one of those questions which may never be fully answered, or understood, least of all by me. I can, however, attempt to give you, the reader, a Will's eye view into how I make sense of things.
There was a time when I believed, like many others, that for my life to have any meaning, I would get an education, a career, a wife, children, and perhaps a dog or two. Many people follow this path, and for them, like myself, it was a vehicle to obtain purpose, immortality, and, if they were lucky, a portion of happiness. Why else would we be placed on this planet? Life had other lessons for me, however.
The aforementioned assumptions were predicated on the belief that I would go through life as I had planned it in my youth. After my SCI, I went through what I can only describe as a mourning period for the life I had lost. I even went as far as writing a letter to the son I would never have. At that point, I thought God had a really twisted sense of humour for keeping me alive when all I had lived for had been taken from me. But, as I would soon realise, God knows what he is doing even if I do not.
Fast forward to this day. Even that which I have written now has a starkly different meaning to me than what it once did. Take marriage, for example. Today, I don't really see the point in it for a man of my age. Any man, of my age. Why would I commit myself legally to someone else when what I can expect from that contract (yes, it is contractual!) is nothing that holds any intrinsic value to furthering the satisfaction of all those things I would suppose give meaning to this thing we call life.
Think about it! If I assume that the woman I would marry is age appropriate within fifteen years either way, that would make her 35 – 65 years of age. Not exactly in her prime childbearing years, so kids would probably not be something I could expect. Not my own, at any rate. And, if by some miracle she did conceive, I would then have to assume that I would be in my seventies when my son or daughter got married. Don't even get me started on grandchildren!
For me, then, this Biblical institution loses a lot of its lustre as something which would add to my life. Why get married, if not to have children? That is the question that keeps going through my head? But I will concede, perhaps there are other virtues. Gay people seem to find value in it – what value, I have no clue about. But there must be some, obviously. Why else would they be so eager to do it?
Someone more knowledgeable than I will have to explain to me like I am a third grader. For me, value now comes from being of service to my fellow human beings. I would consider my life having made sense if I could make it easier for someone else like me, or not, to find the sense in their own existence. I see my life a little like a job interview that lasts 70 years. If, at the end of it all, I can see the fruits of it in the legacy I leave behind, I would have then considered it a life worth living. However, I do not feel that I have reached those heights quite yet. My life is still under construction.
Was it all worth it? Did I succeed in leaving the world a better place than the one I found? Only those who remain will decide that. Until then, I will keep diligently to my task so that my life would add value to those to come.