I know it probably sounds too abstract to be so worried about, but the lack of a point to all of this has been keeping me up nights. I went and asked my Facebook friends about it, expecting no answers but possible empathy. To my surprise, people tried to give me answers but no one said they could relate. I always thought the more common false assumption was that we are unique in our experiences, but I guess that sometimes it can be just as wrong to assume that everyone else is going through what we are.
I will paraphrase some of the answers I got for you:
Everyone has to make their own meaning.
Survival and procreation.
Finding joy in simple things.
There is no meaning.
Rebel against nihilism by finding pleasure and assisting others.
The future, rest, and improving others.
Maximizing pleasure à la Epicurus.
Enjoy pleasures without seeking purpose, which only undermines happiness.
It sort of sounds like most other people have found a way to live with the lack of a larger meaning or purpose by focusing on smaller things that make life worthwhile (like happiness, pleasure, and memories). I’m not sure what sort of overarching purpose anyone could have presented to me without dragging religion into it, anyway. And then it gets complicated. Religion is an integral part of this mess, but it’s not something I like to discuss with most people because I feel judged by the religious and non-religious alike. It’s also difficult to articulate because I don’t even really know what I think. I know that religion isn’t supposed to be something you can partially or casually buy into, but it seems like that’s what I’m trying to do. It’s how I treat most things in my life, always keeping one foot out the door. Basically, relying on “God’s plan for me” and the purpose of life that comes along with religion doesn’t really cut it for me anymore. I need something to live for beyond that, and I have no idea what that might be. So that’s where I am now.
Anyway, I mulled over these Facebook responses and decided that, regardless of the Point or lack thereof, one thing I am sure of is that going through life letting doubts make you miserable is a waste of time. Therefore, in the interest of not wasting my time, I decided to start looking for the lowercase points—if not the best moments of each day, then the moments that make each day worth having lived through.
Here are some of them:
Tuesday, August 14 —We found a newborn baby bunny at the farm, one of my moonflowers bloomed in the garden, and I unexpectedly got a card in the mail.
Wednesday, August 15 — I found a great new band to listen to at work: Storyhill. They are two guys with guitars and beautiful harmonies. I also downloaded a free, open-source program called MuseScore and started making my own piano/vocal arrangement of Fall Apart Again (pdf) by Brandi Carlile. This was super exciting because I’ve always wanted to be able to arrange music but I could never get very far without a good way to notate it. This program is much nicer than paper and pencil because I can just click and drag notes to change them around, and then the computer plays it back for me. Amazing!
Thursday, August 16 — I got a piece of cookie cake at work, got a nice caffeine high from tea, and had a cool moment where I looked in the mirror and realized my hair looked awesome.
Friday, August 17 — I dressed up like a pirate and went to the Buffalo Bisons’ pirate day with J, and we got our picture on the celebrity look-alike cam as Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann.
Saturday, August 18 — J and I went to the 10,000 Maniacs concert at Heron Night Lights—they played on a tiny stage in the middle of the forest. We spent the second half of the show dancing like crazy right up front with one of my coworkers. “Rainy Day” was the highlight for me.
Sunday, August 19 — I had a nice Skype conversation with M and biked to Shakespeare in the Park with S.
Monday, August 20 — Not a great day because I was sick, but I went to a ball game with J, which was nice.
Tuesday, August 21 — Still miserably sick, but I felt better later and went for a midnight walk with J where we saw nine bunnies.
Wednesday, August 22 — I finished the first draft of my arrangement of “Fall Apart Again,” and I finally started recovering from that stupid sickness.
Thursday, August 23 — I had a super weird, amusing encounter with a random dude on the street on my way back from Thursday at the Squarbor. I’d love to tell you about it but it is too inappropriate to actually write down, so you’ll have to ask me.
Friday, August 24 — I went swimming at Knollwood with Mom. Also, after I dropped E back at her house, I saw a big half moon sinking low in the sky, and I turned off my engine in the driveway and listened to Richard Shindell’s version of “Calling the Moon,” which is a song I discovered fairly recently but think I would have also loved as far back as fifteen. I can’t say that of many songs.
Saturday, August 25 — I went with L and E to see Carbon Leaf play at the Fairport Music Festival and it was reeeeally hot.
Sunday, August 26 — Danced around the house to “B.M.F.A.” by Martha Wainwright, not because I was mad at anybody but because it’s a damn catchy song. And it’s on the playlist for a book that’s coming out in September, by an author whose last book I liked quite a lot.
Monday, August 27 — I had a delicious moment of melancholy at work. It was raining outside and there was a Novembery chill in the air from the air conditioner and I was tracing over and over the slow lines of “Sylvia Path” by Ryan Adams in my head, feeling warm and languid and teal-blue sad.