I think the general consensus about life is that the most important thing in life is being alive. The idea that putting your life in any kind of significant risk is not worth all the money in the world.
When I was younger a lot of my decisions were based on longevity. The attitude was to be able to stretch out a life instead of going balls to the wall and trying to live life to the fullest. To live life to the fullest you have to put finances, health and fear of failing in the backseat. I was never willing to do this. I felt I could be content with just living a long mediocre life as long as I didn’t feel like a total failure. I could rationalize my sub-par attitude on life as long as if I knew people who were worse off than me.
It’s true that there are people who tried to live life to the fullest without giving a care about the potential future and find themselves in a regretful state. It’s possible it’s just a case of the grass seeming to be greener on the other side. There’s not a lot of love for people who are down in the dumps but there will always be enough camaraderie for people who have succeeded on paper.
If you heard of a 30 year old and 50 year old dying any kind of death, they would appear to be losers in life compared to someone who is still alive at 70 no matter what the back story is. In the world we live in, numbers signify success. More money, more assets, more friends more years lived. Emotions and feelings have no measurable scale though, so no one really looks too deeply into that. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the untouchable aspects in life but numbers are black and white.
I’m at a stage in my life where the idea of life is not so valuable. I’m not going to feel like a winner just because I made it to the finish line with a bunch of other geezers. Geezer is such a funny sounding word. The high probability that you are going to be alive to see old age is the one thing that stops people from living to the fullest. You are afraid to live a life of suffering when you are older so you take steps in your younger years to help ensure a more comfortable geezer life. It’s a valid rationalization. Chances are you won’t have the balls or the ovaries to ever kill yourself and there’s so much medical intervention that they will be able to keep you alive even against your will.
I used to think that I could be happy riding out this whole life living it in a mediocre fashion. I guess I could but it would also have to be easy. I don’t want mediocre and misery especially if I made the conscious decision to do so. Life was never meant to be lived the way most of us do. Being able to think that you are going to be alive 30 years from now would be crazy in hunter gatherer days. I think in those days dying was just a way of life and you just lived it to sacrifice for your tribe if you had to.
I think it all comes back to how you were raised and what your elders instilled in you. A lot of the Chinese immigrants here who came from a poor upbringing saw success as comfort because they never had it. Maybe that idea becomes disenchanting after a while but there’s enough people like them to make them feel they did the right thing and there’s acceptance in that. My uncles and aunts have achieved this level of comfort and security but I’m not the least bit inspired which might be the reason I can’t accept to live life similar to them. It’s true that we can’t predict the future but you can see where the road potentially ends by looking at the lives of people who followed a certain path. If you follow the same path you are asking for that result.
To be honest I could never see my life past 30. Not because I was at high risk of getting murdered but probably because I had no aspirations for ‘growing up.’ It’s difficult to picture yourself being a big kid. I guess that life of being a grown up never appealed to me.
I’m not sure but I think a lot of life has to do with wanting to care of people. When you want to take care of people you try and better yourself so that you can take care of people. Someone took good care of you and it inspired you. If no one really gave a shit about you then maybe you will never give a shit enough about anyone else. There’s no one to disappoint but yourself when you don’t care about anyone enough. I think life has lasted this long because of this instinctual nature of wanting to take care of someone. Without it I don’t think we would have came very far.