December 30, 2010

finding meaning in the mundane

The older I get, the more meaning I find in the mundane aspects of my life.

When I was young, I used to think I was important. I justified my importance with my beliefs and my dreams. I was going to be an incredible scientist who was going to make the next profound leap in human understanding because scientific understanding is the only understanding of the world we humans know, and the more we know the better off we are. Then I was going to be a brilliant artist whose art shook the souls of everyone it reached because we humans need an emotional grasp of our existence and a reason to live, and art is the light which brightens the darkest corners of our hearts.

But now, as I struggle to make this transition into adulthood, I realize how unimportant I am. My existence is small, my actions inconsequential. I no longer have dreams or beliefs. I care little about where life leads me as long as it leads me forward. I expect to be alone for most of it.

More and more, the meaning of my life is defined by the details of day-to-day living: eating well and sleeping soundly; keeping clean and staying warm; remaining emotionally tranquil and intellectually active. This is the sum of my life. To grow up, I must recognize how small this sum is.

Everywhere I turn, I see people who justify the importance of their existence with Philosophy and Science, Love and Art, Religion and Politics, Wealth and Power, Truth and Beauty. A soul is often unable to recognize the smallness of its existence. This is sometimes a painful and depressing thing to witness.

But there is pleasure in the mundane, and I am off to seek it.

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