Friday, October 28, 2011

Thoughts on a foggy morning

When I was young, I liked to say, "I was born old, and I just keep getting younger." As I have gotten older, that has changed to "Getting older beats the alternative." Cliche, yes, but cliches are cliches for a reason: because they are true. Right?
Anyway: getting older. One thing is for sure: I have always, always thought of myself as a late bloomer. In that sense, I have yet to come into my own. It may not look like it, but to me it seems like I just stumble blindly through life. Maybe a lot of people feel that way. What does it feel like to have a strong sense of purpose? Am I meant to have one, or is this life more about something else entirely? Is a life without a strong, defined purpose just a wasted life? Have I wasted a lot of my life in selfish pursuits, or worse, lethargy and procrastination? What's the sense in getting older  if you don't also get wiser?
When I was young, I was told that I was wise beyond my years. I guess I can't really claim that one anymore! Yet, as time passes, I see more and more how little I do know. Or maybe I just accept that there is a lot that I will never know. The vast majority of that is not stuff I feel a burning desire to know. I guess what I desire to know most of all is a sense of accomplishment. I judge myself most cruelly over this one. When I look at my life, my accomplishments are....nebulous. Is practicing virtue really an accomplishment? Whom does it help? Is helping only a few people really enough? If no one knows about it, is it still good?  Here is another of my favorite sayings: "Goodness is its own reward." Yeah, my kids just love that one. I say it because I truly mean it. But going deeper, is the reward what any of us is really always after? I suppose so, if you believe the pleasure principle. So you don't have to look it up, the pleasure principle is the psychoanalytical concept that people seek pleasure and avoid pain, in seeking to satisfy their biological and psychological needs. The mark of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. If that is true, then I am sooooooo mature! :-)

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