Well, dear readers, it is July. Those of you who know me probably also know that I have a birthday looming on the 30th… 36. Yes, the first half of my 4th decade in this life is drawing to its imminent close. Those of you who know me well might be dreading my company in the week or so preceeding this day. Sorry, peeps. I’ll try my best to keep my thoughts to myself during this period.
Most of you might be wondering why on earth I’m promising close friends and loved ones that I will try to keep my thoughts to myself before my birthday. Well, I will tell you: in more recent years I have experienced an existential angst (crisis?) of sorts in the days preceding my birthday. To give a broad overview of what I mean by that statement, I mean that I question not only the meaning, or purpose, to my own existence, – but to existence in general terms. I can’t help but do this, and even though I’m fully aware that the more socially acceptable way to celebrate another year of life would simply involve cone-shaped hats and inane rituals involving cake, I’ve been incapable of going through these superficial motions and just leaving it there. Does a celebration of life not warrant something more than trivial gestures? For starters, I don’t even like cake. I don’t usually care for presents that I don’t choose myself either. I do love balloons, though. And I do love the power of claiming stake on a day on the calendar. So really, it’s not all bad. There is plenty of happiness on my birthday, because I am sincerely thankful and happy for all that I have in my life and all of the ways that I continue to grow. I celebrate these things eagerly. However, when I am forced to acknowledge and measure time spent living my little life, I also feel this pathological need for greater pause. It’s as though I somehow believe that I cannot do one thing (celebrate time in years) without the other (contemplate, reflect, and attempt to understand or assign purpose to said time).
When I say that can’t help myself, if I’m going to be completely honest I ought to say that I don’t want to help it. I like to believe that I emerge from these few days of thought with a refreshed perspective and reaffirmed sense of accountability. Regardless of the fact that I land in the same place that I start (no definitive answers), the process is important to me. And it’s quite the interesting rabbit hole, to boot.
The fact that my thoughts wander to these places and question ‘purpose of life’ most likely makes me sound a bit loopy. I’m okay with this, as at least I can say that the motivation behind these thoughts is to better understand and to improve myself as a person. I don’t believe that enough people mentally and emotionally ground themselves in this way, but they ought to. Most people waste their time spouting off clichés and useless affirmations, but never do the real work of self-improvement. This work is not easy, and perhaps that is why.
Anywho, this post is not about other people. This post is about me.
Even though I don’t believe I will ever be certain that purpose exists, or that I will ever be arrogant enough to assign one ultimate meaning to it all, the fact that I try is in itself what reminds me that I am only human. It humbles me, and this humbling extends to the careful thought that I employ to all of my major decisions.