Thursday, August 10, 2006

Too Much Leisure Leads to Existential Seizure

August 8, 2006. 3:48pm

It may seem paradoxical, but at this moment I can understand "suicidal". Sitting on the grass, back against an old shade tree, looking out on the many shades that comprise the New Haven 'Green'... Branches sway lazily in the hot August breeze, people amble along paths underneath clouds floating through crystal blue sky. In short, is it a lovely summer afternoon. Perfect, even.
So why live today? Or why not?

I mean, how many lazy afternoons can a single mortal bear to enjoy? As precocious as it sounds coming from my mere twenty-seven-year-old imagination, I can feel a part of myself that is older and wiser beyond it's years; an heirloom of consciousness, passed down from my great-ancestors to me. Does DNA hold memories? This ancient me is satisfied and done with the thing called Human Life. It understands people. It has lived through joy and devastation, success and failure, passage through all of the spokes of the life cycle. It has given birth, raised children, become a grandparent. It has melted in love, sizzled in hate, boiled in rage, baked in sorrow, dripped with longing. Yes, perhaps it has missed a few must-see stops along the way - never a bologna-only diet, nary a not speaking to a mother for twenty years, hardly a drunken barfight (although I did get caught in between two large men engaging in one that one time at Bar, knocked to the floor with a shove meant for the guy behind me, breaking my fall with hands that got ground by beer bottle shards, bloody palms to show for my unxpected late-night adventure). But like a cross country trip, one can complete the journey successfully, with complete satisfaction, without seeing every single roadside stop or traveling every single highway. There are choices that must be made - this route or that one, this drive-through or that sit-down - and no single human can possibly be expected to see it all, experience it all.

So. How much is enough? Is there not virtue in moderation, in stopping before crossing over to gluttony? What is enough living for one life?

Let's take your average 92-year-old. Is there a day when she decides, that's all folks, The End? Every story has an ending; doesn't it make sense that we should be granted some control over the ending to the most important story of our lives: Our Lives? And what if some really are better as short stories, better truncated, rather than let go on like a sophomoric essay, tortuously empty for page after page after page. In the end, so what? Is a badly written full length novel morally superior to a judiciously edited vignette?

What's the Point of It All, is what we inevitably come back to. To Do lists ad nauseum, and for what? Every checked box leaves room for another empty one; people who do the To Do list thing don't actually want an empty list, for that would mean having to assess what life's all about if not checking off boxes and feeling smugly productive or guiltily inefficient. Tomorrow, I'm going to make my first To Be list. And also a To Think and To Feel list. Doesn't that seem more appropriate?

Today is:
Day 2 (of 5) of Power Yoga Week
Day 1 (of 31) of my new Hot 'n Healthy Body Challenge
Day 21 (of ?) of no coffee/espresso (except on my birthday)
Day 9,873 (of ??) of my life.

Wow. In approximately four months I will hit 10,000 days of living! That's reasons enough to throw a party, if there ever was one. I guess that makes the average life span around 30,000 I really a third of the way through already? If I had a dollar for each day of my life...geez, I'd be pretty poor. If only I had a day for every dollar I'll ever make...

So where does that leave us? To live, or not to live. Oh, ha - I guess that question's already been asked. I suppose that really *is* the only question that we must ask ourselves each day. To Be, or Not To Be. And if To Be - if suicide is not the plan - then let's make this day justify the ones that brought us up to today, set a worthy precedent for the ones to come in the future, and be worthy of itself, right here and now.