24 August 2012

I Don't Know How to Do This

A couple of days ago I wrote that life is a job, and implied that one of the most basic aspects of that job is to make life have meaning.

I know that the meaning of my life is entirely up to me, for me to create. I've come to see that this isn't some diktat from some being of a higher order making demands of me based on some responsibility contract I was forced to sign by being born, as if I'd coerced my parents into making me, rather than the other way around. No, there's no entity arbitrarily demanding I get to work at meaning-making. Rather this is simply a law of the universe, like the physics of gravity or the dharmic laws of cause and effect. It just is. The responsibility to make meaning out of one's life is like the responsibility to eat if one wants to live. It is simply a fact of the human condition. I'm beholden to no one, but I am vastly beholden to myself.

The problem is that I feel I lack the skill set to create meaning for my life. If someone has been indoctrinated— dare I say brainwashed?— for the first three-fifths of his life, the "formative years", to believing that the meaning for his life comes from an all-powerful entity given to mercurial moodswings and tyrannical rulership, it's hard to take control of life for oneself. In other words, I was taught throughout my childhood, youth and young adulthood, that God had plans, that God had given me my life's meaning, etc. So I not only received no training in meaning-making, I was discouraged from even questioning it. I just don't know how to do this.

I can of course think critically. I can weigh options. I can say, well, I like this, I loathe that, I don't give a shit about the other. But I cannot find the wherewithal within me to feel passionate about anything. The closest I come to passionate is anger over the way I was raised. And even that is mitigated by feeling sorry for my parents, who were so smart and so clueless at the same time. I have no burning desire to accomplish any particular thing; I have no "great work" waiting to be done.

So here I am. I'm freaked out about being old and alone, and completely unable to find a mate. I'm adrift in a life that has no inherent meaning, and feel ill-equipped to create that meaning. I have no real career, no real family and nothing to look forward to except getting older, uglier and more alone.

Bear with me; I'm still trying to figure this out.

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