The ongoing chant of life.
We’re all going to die.
The world is a fucked up place.
Death wanders among us, culling the herd, but not fast enough -too quickly!- it all ends.
Lately, thinking about death gives me anxiety. Today, I was contemplating whether a leaf on a tree lives uniquely, then dies at the close of the season, or whether the plant was the only unique being, and leaves, like fingernails, are simply extra components without “life”. I hope leaves aren’t “alive”, for their lives will end at the whims of weather, accident and just cuz.
If I bend a leaf and it dies, have I killed a unique being? And how long did it live? A day, 5 days?
SO SHORT A TIME.
Are animals also unique creatures? When our cat dies, will he never come back? Will he be reborn again, or is he gone forever?
When I’m not in the throes of an existential crisis, anxiety cranks up faster than I can scroll through my Facebook feed.
In my social circles there’s a common “joke” floating around that once the “baby-boomers” die, the world will be a better place. That’s both interesting and fucked up when you think about it.
It tends to be a reaction to the parent/grandparent generation who think – “well, the world is pretty fucked up. Good thing my kids will live on and fix it!”. Or, those other parents/grandparents who rage against the millennials.
You know the ones.
So between the chants of -“damn those lazy kids”- and -“let the kids fix it”, it really becomes amusing.
…no? Okay, another angle.
Let’s say you’re in line to inherit a valuable legacy -say a silver mine. Your grandparents passed it to your parents who will one day pass it on to you. You’ve been raised in a reasonable lifestyle: food, clothing, shelter, etc..
The mine, however, has some issues. The exploited workers don’t get health care, waste management is nonexistent, the mine has displaced several villages and caused untold damage to the environment, plus, your mine and company have been in a legal property feud since… forever, it seems.
Now, you are nearing legal age to start helping the business, and the more you learn about the various facets the more horrified you become at the numerous issues that are apparent. You might want to make changes to modify or redirect some of the former processes; but of course, you don’t really have authority yet because your parents are still alive, the Board of Directors really run things and you don’t even have a single company stock to your name.
Even more disturbing, you realize that your parents figure that it’s no big deal. When you try to talk about the “company direction” and the long-term effects, they shrug and respond that it’s not really their problem. They just need to continue making a profit.
Of course, when they retire, you can run things how you want, but in the meantime -hell no, there won’t be any changes!
And why can’t you do more to help anyway instead of making more work for everyone? Lazy and ungrateful, that’s what you are, ungrateful of this legacy that has fed and clothed you since you were a mere embryonic cell.
So you continue to perpetuate the cycle because you can’t change it and you gotta eat. Maybe when they die, you can finally…
And then your co-inheriting cousin shows up. He doesn’t see a problem with any of it, and of course your parents like him more.
Before you know it, you don’t have a dog in this race!
So, you get shunted aside, your opinion doesn’t matter, and none of the problems will be solved.
But the Best Moments
Are when you don’t think so deeply. Smile at the geese in the road. Accelerate and leave the past behind.
Ignore the warnings.
Carve out small moments of “it’s okay”, even when it’s a lie.
Don’t care so much.
And someday it will end.