We’re adults now, you and I.
Going into the world, doing real things, though it really doesn’t feel like it, does it? I suppose I thought that by this point we would be on some road leading to some realistic but difficult to attain goal, one that would offer us fulfillment and purpose. Instead we seem to be mucking about in the details as there is nothing bigger than ourselves to join.
Not to say that the world doesn’t need us, that it doesn’t have thousands upon thousands of problems that need to be addressed. And that’s just it; it’s such a momentous goal that would require unfathomable amounts of energy, dedication and ambition, and I don’t know about you, but I really don’t have the stamina or expertise to even consider taking on even one aspect. Who are we but a collection of exceptional, intelligent, thinking individuals who dedicate our time to paying our bills and finding connection and release in whatever drug or addiction that is easily justified and proportionally acceptable to our sense of responsibility? It is the most reasonable thing to do; we are working for a realistic goal that is attainable with dedication and a bit of good luck, but what does it achieve other than the basic necessities of life? The struggle to maintain good standing in the eyes of the credit bureau, the gas company, the banks and student loan lenders.
If it is that for which we strive, to which we devote our energy, how does this not cause at least a modicum of existential despair? For eight hours a day, five days a week, we turn the wheels of the machine that both supports and binds us with checks and balances in innumerable sections, chapters, and amendments. How should it be different, you ask me, and I tell you, it doesn’t matter, what a pointless question. The point of interest here is that it simply is and we must learn how to pursue our purpose within this paradigm.
Would it be out of place to say that everyone’s goal is to change the world? A blanket statement is always dangerous, but who does not want to change the things around them, their world, to make it more comfortable and fulfilling? The cliché of ‘changing the world’ applying to the overlapping stable elements of each’s experience and understanding of their world, it has nearly lost any other connotation thanks to commercials and slogans. Because even your car choice can change your world. Since I cannot solve world hunger and don’t have the time or energy to address the homeless/elderly/healthcare/government/environmental issues I see going on around me, at least I can buy this car and have changed something. Substitutes piled upon substitutes until we can only glimpse the original in moments unguarded and infrequent. Otherwise purpose lies in putting your head to the grindstone until you can only feel the uneven surface grating away at layer after layer, grinding you down to your brainstem and setting you afloat for the retirement years of solitude and isolation. The art of gleaning what one can from the surrounding habitat and being satisfied with the luck of the draw is the measure of success and those endowed with powers of patience, perspective or self-delusion fair better than the rest of us.
We are adults now, we are coming into our own right, we are the daughters and sons of failed visionaries and revolutionists. We have inherited the sins of our fathers, the embedded thorn of disillusionment: the world is too big to change. We should busy ourselves with the things with realistic goals, use ten-step plans to plot our journey and have quarterly reviews to measure our progress.
We are adults now and the luxury of existential despair is not afforded us. This is how the world works, we tell each other, we tell ourselves, and these things are important.
I’ve been so busy; schedules, payments, responsibilities, I’m sorry we haven’t talked. I’m sorry we’ve grown apart, how are you? We should go out more often, meet up for lunch, have coffee and brunch.
I feel like I’m fighting an unending battle, that I’m isolated and those around me don’t understand, but we get shit-faced every week and check facebook at work when our boss isn’t looking and smile in our insulated self-delusion with our guarded eyes and hardened hearts.
O children of Isreal, I will send you into the desert for forty years, until everyone who remembers what it is like to be slaves of the Pharaoh will have died, and I will give you a nation unto yourself.
Forgive my paraphrase, as I only know a little about a lot.