There’s a big joke about the end of the world happening today because the ancient Mayan calender ends on today’s date. However, the fact that we’ve been observing leap year for the past several centuries means that today, December 21, 2012, already happened a while back.
This is the first time in your lifetime that certain people assumed the end of the world was supposed to happen. This is your generation’s version of when I lived through January 1, 2000.
While it’s fun to laugh about, there’s definitely at least some subtle unease when we are forced to face the fact that eventually, whether collectively or individually, life does finally come to an end.
I don’t feel weird for admitting it: I think about death all the time.
There for a while I wondered if I was morbid, but after listening to an excerpt of Ray Kurzweil’s book The Age Of Spiritual Machines in a similarly named album by the Canadian rock band, Our Lady Peace, I realized I’m pretty normal to think the way I do:
“Death gives meaning to our lives. It gives
importance and value to time. Time would
become meaningless if there were too much
The way I see it, at best, I’ve only got about 50 years left to live. Assuming an even better case scenario that I get to live those 50 years with you and Mommy, it shows that I’m a very optimistic person.
I simply can’t imagine my life without you, whether that means I leave this life before or after you. My mind isn’t able to process that.
So in accordance to all the Facebook status cliches about living life to its fullest, all I can do is attempt to make the most of every moment I have with you and Mommy, until God pulls the plug on my time here…or the end of the world really does happen, like today’s Mayan forecast supposedly predicts.
One of my many weaknesses as Superdad is that I’m not a very patient person.
I’ve noticed that every time I catch myself “not living life to its fullest,” it’s usually because of something stupid like being tempted to check my email instead of immediately taking you up on your invitation to play on the floor with you as you crash your metal Thomas trains into each other.
See, the inevitability of death (or the end of the world, whichever comes first) really does help give value and importance to time, and therefore, more meaning to life.
If we make it through today, I’ll continue spending the rest of my life showing you how much I love you, through my actions, words, and daily private letters which just happen to be broadcast on the Internet.
I feel more alive today, not just because we finally made it to autumn, my favorite time of year. Instead, my state of euphoria exists because I know I made my son very happy by buying him that fire truck.
On this day, I do not feel overwhelmed as a husband and dad trying to provide for his family. I am not desperately in need of sleep or a boost in confidence in my abilities of what society expects of me or even what I expect of myself.
Nor I am worried about the end of the world; no, I’m not concerned that Communist China will take over America, or Communist Russia, or even religious extremist terrorists.
In fact, if the world as we know it came to an end right now, at least I would know I ceased to exist while in a state of accidental bliss.
It all goes back to my wife and I standing in the checkout aisle at the store and me telling my son, “You’ve been a really good boy today and we know you really want a fire truck, so we’re going to buy it for you.”
He didn’t even smile; he just kept a somber look on his face that somehow communicated gratitude even more than smile could.
It’s seeing him celebrate back at the house by making his fire truck the head of a parade with his other toy cars.
It’s knowing all day at work I was thinking about my son and how happy I made him by buying him some cheap toy.
In this moment I feel extremely needed by a little boy who is dependent on me for little surprises in life, like a toy fire truck.
The meaning of life is to give life meaning. I thoroughly believe that.
The thing I like most about my seven gray hairs is that they stick straight out like a wire, making them effortless to pluck out every 60 days.
Sure, these recently arrived strays are a sign that I’ve lived on this planet for over three decades now. But they also surely serve as proof that I’ve been a parent for nearly a year and a half.
Since becoming a dad, my concept of time has been greatly compromised. Today I had to ask myself what month it is, not knowing if it were summer or fall or winter; as if the Tennessee heat and humidity didn’t give it away. Turns out, it’s spring.
But what’s the difference?
These are the longest days and shortest years of my life. In a sense, I almost don’t even know what that means. But in some simple, clever, yet abstract way, I totally get it.
All I know is I spend most of my hours doing the things that I don’t want to do, so I can afford the few hours of the day (or of the week) doing the things I actually enjoy.
The majority of my hours at my “real job” in an office are spent either finding ways to stay busy so that I don’t realize how bored out of my mind I am, or it’s the exact opposite: I’m “swamped” and stressed and on top of that, regularly criticized that my work isn’t good enough. (The Dadabase is my 2nd job; not my office job.)
Then let’s consider life when I’m not “working.”
There’s the transporting and taking care of my son, there’s the cleaning up of dishes after dinner, there’s mandatory chill out time with my wife… which currently means finishing Season 3 of Lost. And there’s catching up with my wife and making sure we have some quality time and conversations aside from our chill out/entertainment time.
Most of my life is spent earning an income. Next is my time with my family; being a dad and a husband. Last and least is the concept of “me time.”
Alongside all this organized chaos is a little blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy who likes to show me his newest magic trick each day; like last week when Jack carefully placed each macaroni shell on his finger like it’s a fingernail, before eating it. (I entitle the picture above “Jack-N-Cheese.”)
He serves as one of the few reminders for me that life is actually moving forward as he’s growing up and becoming more independent everyday. (That’s why each post starts out by telling how old he is.)
Meanwhile, I often feel like I’m just living life in front of a green screen that loops the same tired footage as the day before.
So what can I do? I make as much as I can with what little time I do have to spend with my family and what I enjoy doing; in order feel alive and creative and set apart in this world.
This life can be consuming in its mundaneness; not to mention how hard it is to simply making a living and not worry about how I am going to support my family and myself throughout the future.
What is the meaning of life? To give life meaning.
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”