I’m not usually the right person for the “my heart goes out to them” stuff. But every now and then, my heart goes out to someone.
Tonight’s like that. You know who you are, and—for the little it’s worth, I’m with you in spirit.
— § —
I’ve been having a crisis of meaning in life for maybe two years, maybe longer.
The best way to become your own worst enemy is not to have any idea what your life goals are any longer.
Once, I was an academic. Then I realized that nobody cares. The public doesn’t care about what the professoriat finds in their research. Policymakers are far too political to care; they have other values. And even academics don’t care, beyond STEM fields where patents are a thing. They’re wrapped up in their own kinds of politics and ideological games.
It’s all work done for no particular purpose, interpretive dance alone in the kitchen.
After that—not sure what. Family couldn’t be my mission, because family was falling apart and of course now has long fallen apart entirely.
It seems to be a combination of “get the kids to school on time” and “make more money.” There’s something to these goals, but the first isn’t urgent enough to lead to a life well-lived; the second can’t be sustained on its own terms.
— § —
But why isn’t the first enough? It seems so insane; it should be everything. Everything. The kids should be everything.
And yet in the tragedy of life and society it’s precisely because they are everything that they can’t be everything. Taking-care and caring-for can’t be accomplished unless there is more to you than that; a life lived to care for others isn’t permitted; society will not feed you so that you can feed them.
Rather, if you can’t feed you, if you don’t have some other purpose besides feeding them, it will take them away and give them to someone else who does.
And so it becomes important to be something more than a parent.
That “something more” for me is missing. “Make more money” isn’t a goal; it’s an outcome. What’s missing in my life is the goal whose happy side-effect it is.
And the gravity of it all is beginning to weigh on me like a ton of granite.
Yet even in the midst of this—my inability to mow the lawn, attach images to my blog, do the laundry, etc. in a timely fashion because I don’t know why I do what I do or what I ought to do instead—I am comfortable.
— § —
We tell kids, “there’s always tomorrow.”
We know that we’re lying, but we can’t bring ourselves to say, “hopefully there’s a tomorrow.”
And we’re even less able to come to terms with the notion that there is no case, no circumstance, no thing, no person… that will not eventually run out of tomorrows.
“All things must end” is the most profound reality in the human canon. It is also the hardest to confront on any given day, because it brings the entire universe to a grinding halt. And if you’re going to feed the kids, the universe cannot grind to a halt.
Rather, you’re spending all of your time trying to jump-start it. The truth is nothing if not completely counterproductive to that effort.
— § —
In any case, nothing is killing me.
I know what that feels like, and it is infinitely worse. Hollow and compressed is in no way the same thing as utterly crushed.
Empty is not the same thing as suffering.
So my heart goes out tonight to those who suffer.
And my empty space waits for something that matters to seize me and restore lost clarity.