What Is the Point?Herbert Fingarette
Each person’s existence carries its own meaning, this much is clear to me at age 56. I’m not likely to get anywhere near 97 years of age. The genetic and social burdens I carry will probably kill me long before I make it that far. But who knows? I certainly don’t. I plan to live for as long as life brings me joy, and not for one minute longer if I can arrange that.
Like the veteran philosopher, this amatuer philosopher has pondered the meaning of existence many times. I cannot come up with a reason for life beyond the one I gave in the first sentence. Either you find your meaning for continuing for yourself, or you don’t. If you don’t, your existence is liable to be shorter than the person who can find that reason for themselves.
People without purpose tend to wither away. When I was stricken with illness that wouldn’t kill me, but rendered me incapable of continuing to indulge my passion for architecture, for designing and building, I came dangerously close to doing just that. It was the interference of family and friends that kept me here, allowed me time to find new purpose. Otherwise I would have been gone years ago.
A few years ago this week, I held my dying mother in my arms, and wept at the cruelty of the world that would kill this noble woman this way. Kill her with a cancer that she refused to treat. She felt it was the end of her time. And so it was the end of her time. And so it is for all of us, if we allow it to be. Or not.
Accept that you know next to nothing about life and living. Savor each new thing, each new day, as if it is your last. Never miss a sunset if you can help it. Catch the first sun’s rays when you can. Breathe in life and then exhale it to enrich the world around you. Each and every day is a new day with new things to learn. Existence is its own purpose. I wouldn’t have it any other way, myself.
Submitted to the Atlantic. Featured image link, another bridge/sunset from Bing that I had to track down.