I walked in the desert today, talking to my deceased life mate/soul mate. (Or maybe I was talking to myself. I’m still not sure to whom I think I’m talking when I’m out there, but it does help me to talk aloud at times — I don’t feel quite so alone.) I was trying to understand my latest upsurge in grief. It doesn’t seem to be tied into an anniversary or a holiday, though it did start on the 4th. Nor does it seem to have resulted from any new or renewed experience. Anyway, there I was, walking, talking aloud, feeling sorry for myself, and I heard myself say, “I’m not much good to anyone, so what is the point of being me?” I stopped in my tracks, arrested by the simple question. What is the point of being me?
For the past two years, ever since his death, I’ve been haunted by the hard questions: Who are we? Why are here? Is this all there is? Where did our loved ones go? Will we see them again? What is the meaning of life, and probably most haunting of all, what is the meaning of death? In all this time, I have never asked: What is the point of being me.
It seems such a simple question, doesn’t it? But here is the truth of it:
Billions of years ago, the universe was born. Through untold eons it learned how to create various life forms, and finally, it created a semblance of a human being. A million years later, our present species came into being, and many thousands of years after that, I was born. I learned to walk and talk, and as I grew, I learned how to communicate ideas rather than just simple needs and wants. Later, I learned how to read, and because of that one skill, I learned way more than I ever could by merely observing. Along the way I learned about love and finally, during the past six years, I learned about dying through watching loved ones struggle with the end of their lives. (I won’t really know about dying until I have the experience, but it does seem as if I have been steeped in death for too many years.)
Here I am today, the culmination of billions of years of learning — a unique individual. So, what is the point of being me?
I’m not sure why the question has caught my imagination, but I’ve found myself smiling at odd moments today. It seems as if finding the right question is as important as finding the right answer, and this appears to be the right question. The meaning of life and especially death is too immense for my mind to grasp, and anyway, finding the answer can’t really help me figure out how I am supposed to live the rest of my life alone or what I am supposed to be doing. Yet suddenly, there it was, my guide to the future — a simple question, specific to me, that no one else can answer.
What is the point of being me?