I have spent thirty six years begging the question. If asked, at any given point, the question begged would have varied, as would the motivation, but the underlying sentiment would have been “I don’t care a great deal about this”. The human experience as a whole has often felt like an o.k. party where I know a couple people from work: if I drink enough it could be fun, and I might get laid, but I’m not especially invested in the goings on around me. A ladytype once described me as a sociopath humanist who would stroll whistling through a race riot to comfort a sad friend. It’s fairly apt.
So why do I cite these questionable bonafides? It occurred to me the other day that I will most certainly not have children. Squirting congealed purpose and legacy into the loins of my beloved just doesn’t move the needle. This opting out of the prime genetic imperative, however, does call into question just how I am going to manufacture meaning from the second act of my life? While not resolved, the consumptive struggle for identity that impelled my youth has reached a comfortable detente, the points of reference floating but consistent enough to provide context and validation. The issue now is purpose. How do I thread some broader narrative through forty years of : don’t starve, release dopamine, try to not die, repeat.
There is a feeling of having gone off script but refusing to leave the stage, this ill thought attempt to define character at the expense of the story at hand. Which isn’t to say things are grim, just awkward and transitory. The byproduct of this particular epiphany is agency to a degree that I am unaccustomed. What my life is about from this point on is entirely up to me, and while empowering, the breadth and depth of that consideration is somewhat paralyzing. Still, the more I consider it the I more realize that the only failure is to continue begging the questions of others in lieu of answering my own.