This post is a bit different from others and touches upon some darker things you might not want to read about right before the weekend. So if you’d rather skip this one, I totally understand. That said, I still want to share it with you if you’re up for it.
One of the crucial questions in life every one sooner or later has to answer is “What’s the point?” Sometimes, this question is phrased as “What’s the meaning of life?” but I like the first one better because it doesn’t have as much religious and philosophical baggage. Some people answer this question once and are done with it. Others struggle with it throughout their lives. I faced it first when I was a young boy and have made my peace with it not so long ago. Though every now and then, the question is forced back into the forefront of my mind for a little while. Today is one of those times, for a variety of reasons all coming together.
- A while ago, I visited the site at St. Rombuld’s cathedral in Mechelen. It was a sunny day and you could see the skeletons lying bare on the ground with archeologists working on them. The burial grounds date back a thousand years so it was an opportunity to see something you don’t often come across in daily life.
- Also a while ago, my son was having issues facing life and death. I explained to him how I saw it and he was relieved to hear he wasn’t alone with his questions. We talked for a long time and he felt better afterwards.
- Last year, I heard one of my friends drowned in the ocean. He lived in the US and we weren’t as in touch as we used to because of it. But a month before his death, we had a long talk on the phone and he sounded the best I’d ever heard him.
- That made me remember a high school friend who burned alive in a car crash when we were 18. It had been a while since I’d thought of him.
- Just this morning, I heard of somebody losing two of his children in less than five months time. I can’t begin to imagine his pain.
Bring all this together and that essential question comes back to me: what’s the point of it all?
What’s the point?
The point is to live.
We’re all going to die once we’re done living. We’re all going to end up as a bunch of bones or perhaps some scattered dust if you prefer to be cremated. Look at the pictures of the archeological site. Those skeletons were once people just like you and me. With hopes, dreams, fears and everything else it means to be alive. Now they’ve been dead for a thousand years and will remain so evermore. The same will happen to us, like it or not.
Realistically speaking, I’m almost half-way through my life as I approach 40. There was a lot of bad but also a lot of good in those 4 decades of my life but I’ll get back to this in a future blog post. When I reflect on it all, I’ve been blessed with an amazing life:
- I found what I love to do and have been fortunate to make a living off it.
- I’ve been loved by many incredible women and loved them just as much in return. Some of these relationships ended in a natural way, others ended in disaster. But they all helped me appreciate my soul mate even more when I eventually found her.
- My marriage, though it ended badly, gave me two wonderful children. They light up my life in ways nothing else can.
- I’ve traveled the world and keep on doing so. What’s best, I can visit friends in almost every country I go, making it even more fun.
- I’ve been blessed with a strong body and it’s allowed me to do things only few people can. Even though it’s starting to give me problems now, it’s been a riot so far.
These are just a few of the things worth mentioning, there are many more. The reason I bring this up: I’ve lived. Life has been very hard but it’s also been very good. Which brings me back to my first answer: the point of being alive is living. Not a little, not every now and then but all the way to the best of your abilities, every single day.
Before I eventually end up pushing daisies, I want to squeeze every bit out of what life has to offer. Which isn’t always as easy as it sounds as life tends to make you fall. Yeah, sure, the point is getting back up again, I know. But what the feel-good-emo-always-be-positive-coaches don’t tell you is that the harder you fall, the more scars and bruises you collect. Some of them never go away and make it hard to appreciate life. Fall enough times and you don’t even enjoy standing back up again. You do so for other reasons but you end up being lived instead of living your life.
I’ve had my share of that and am through with it. So here’s my view on it these days:
- I’m going to live every day as best I can until I don’t have any days left. That means I’m going to do all the things I enjoy as much as possible.
- I’ll spend the most time I can with the people I love and cherish.
- I’ll keep on training as hard as I can for as long as my body allows me to.
- I’ll keep on doing new things, learning and growing because I enjoy it.
- All those who are up for this can join the ride. All those who want to complain and whine can watch me pass them by or catch up and join me when they’re ready to do so. Those who feel the need to hate me for whatever reason, they can kiss my gluteus maximus. Life’s too short to waste my time on them.
The bad parts of life, the loss and grief that is still in store for me is something I can’t control. I just have to accept it when it shows up. But I’ll be damned if I’ll let it stop me from living a life that is worth remembering.
For those of you who read the Discworld series, (and if you don’t, you’re missing out) this is how I want the seconds right after I pass away to go like:
Me: Oh… I guess this is it then.
Me: Well, I can’t say I’m glad to see you but at least you didn’t catch me off guard.
Death: WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
Me: I’ve had a good life, I lived every day to the fullest.
Death: YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN…
Me: So, what’s next?
Death: FOLLOW ME…