Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Birthday Ruminations

Well here I am, a year older today. I don't feel any different, but the counter is clicking away. Each time it rolls over to a new number, it gets more alarming to me. One day, the counter will stop. Then, I will be no more.

For a while after I'm gone, I will be remembered: "Remember that weird guy, whutzisname, who used to rail on about the evils of government, the value of a gold monetary standard, and who thought the highest form of humour was a pun? Ha-ha-ha. He was the punniest guy I ever met."

Then, I will be remembered only by a few family members, perhaps by my son and my nieces and nephews. Finally, one day, I will be only a name in someone's genealogy program.

Do I care? You bet I do. It is not just that I want to live, it is a matter of how the world will be able to go on without me. How would that be possible? Isn't that how we all feel about ourselves? We are the centre of the universe, aren't we? Nothing else, and no-one else matters. Actually, we don't really think that way intellectually. We know better. Our brain tells us that we are but one of many humans here on earth, and that there are many galaxies in our universe, each of which hold stars in their gravitational embrace that could have planets which support life. Perhaps not life as we know it. Maybe better forms of life. Maybe worse. Will we ever know?

At an emotional level, though, we all tend to think that we are more important than we really are. We may be important to our children and families. We may be important to our employees and friends. Beyond that, no-one much gives a damn whether we live or die. Why should they? People start and end life every day. Some make a difference. Some merely take up space. Either way, each has a right to live, and a right to decide for themselves how to live.

I often wonder what life on earth will be like after I am gone. Will the human race be more intelligent and behave more rationally? I doubt it. Will individual humans live longer, on average, than they do today? Almost definitely. Will it make a difference? Maybe it will, to those who want to live, those who are productive, active and appreciative of life. But how about those who feel used up and tired, and who simply want to expire to see what is on the other side? I don't know. I don't see the value of hooking up people to machines to keep them alive, but I think the bigger problem may eventually be that some governing body will get to decide who lives or dies, and when. On your 60th or 70th or 80th birthday, you will be deemed to have run out of your allotted time, and you will be encouraged, at the end of a syringe, or by forced ingestion of a pill, to depart this earth. Draw your last breath. Bye bye. And good riddance. A new generation needs the air you breathe, the water you drink, the ground you walk on. Get lost.

Is that ahead in the future of our world? I wouldn't be surprised. I hope not.

As a child, I dreamed of a perfect world, a fair place where everything worked, where no-one got sick or injured, where people were nice to each other, where the sun shone by day and it rained at night. I dreamed of a lot of things.

As adults, we can still dream. I now dream of a perfect world, a fair place where everything works... well, you know, the same things I dreamt about as a child. There is a difference though. As an adult, I know that my dreams won't come true, at least not those particular dreams. The world isn't perfect. People aren't perfect. Life isn't perfect.

But life is still pretty damn wonderful. I love being alive. I'm gonna hang in there, regardless of what goes on around me and how disappointing some things might be from time to time.

So... that means that if you drop by to read this blog a year from now, you are going to be subjected to more of my birthday ruminations. And the year after that, and the year after that, and so on.

Stick around. Let's grow old together.


  1. That was a big slice of triple-choclate cake with ice cream on it!
    Well done.
    Someday we will all "run out of birthdays". I've said goodnight to too many friends who have "fallen asleep" this past year, and if I was ever delusional enough to think I was Superman, that myth has been debunked.
    I wanted a lot of things out of life. Now, I look at so many who have become motivational basket cases chasing after same, and wonder if it might just be better to keep it simple and out of the way.
    So much of what I thought and believed to be true has been shown to be nothing but the lies craven snake-oil salesman use to take advantage of the gullible.
    If there's a heaven to get to, you won't have a hard search to find me: I'll be the guy with the look of surprise on his face because so many folks telling me how to get there also told me I'd never make it/wasn't good enough/didn't jump through enough of their hoops.

  2. I must say that I take a bit of a different approach to being remembered. I try to ensure that my legacy and masterpiece (Ophelia) has all that she needs to continue a successful line of emotionally, spiritually, physically healthy offspring and so forth. It's hard to think like that, because for everything I think I may be saving her from, through my own experiences, she will not have had those experiences from which to draw on to save her own daughters and sons. And so, for me, it comes down to healthy biology and a solid set of values, for which everything else can branch off from.

    Prayers and no sugar and a keen thinking mind.

    Hows that for simple?


    How will we ever know if we have succeeded in another thousand years?

    I don't know. We won't be remembered.

    But, there is nothing wrong with being a good man amoung common men and at the end, when we pass the test and proliferated our hope, hopefully, we have left enough of our heart and soul walking around here and earth that we will be reunited in the afterlife.

    But, I'm only 33 and I can rationalize pretty much anything these days. It's my latest phase. I am not sure how I'll feel when I'm fifty. When my Mom begins to remember the past, she looks shellshocked and when I question her on it, she says that she can't believe that her 15th birthday was so long ago.

    Time is a racetrack for a lot of people. But, when we really think about what our purpose is and how long we are here and what will be left of us, it sure doesn't have to be.

    Or, is that me, being niave, at thirty-three.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up on your posts.