I turned thirty-six in February. Thirty-six, if you can believe that shit. Four years away from forty. Forty! That’s the age of someone’s dad! Oh wait; I am someone’s dad.
When I was young-grade school age-I never thought much past age thirty. I wondered what I’d be doing when I was twenty one. I wondered what I’d be doing when the year 200o rolled around. I knew I’d be twenty-six but didn’t know where I’d be. Little did I know I’d be finishing college and moving 500 miles away from West Virginia to Missouri, where I’d stake out my little place to live out the American dream.
Forty? Didn’t think much about that then. I figured I’d have kids, maybe a job worth a shit. Who knew? Thirty-six? Never gave it a moment’s thought; it’s really a non-milestone age. Overlooked in the glow of thirty-five and the fear and stigma of forty.
So here I am, halfway through the year I turned thirty-six. Thirty-six trips around the sun for me.
So where am I now, at age thirty-six? What have I done? What’s changed? Did I accomplish the things I thought I would? What didn’t turn out the way I thought it would?
I’m thirty-six with two kids and a wife. My wife and I have been together for fifteen years and have been married for twelve years. Our relationship is changing, modifying as we get older, as we accumulate years together. We’re staying flexible with each other, flexible with what life is throwing at us. We’re in a partnership, and we’re together for life. This is actually where I thought I would be, but our marriage is a little different than I imagined it might be. It’s more difficult; not quite as easy as I’d originally thought, but those are the ideals of youth. Although difficult at times it’s rewarding and not at all impossible to maintain. Continue reading
After visiting the “Dinosaurs Unearthed” exhibit at the St. Louis Science center a few weeks ago, it got me thinking about the reality of extinction and fallacy of immortality. Dinosaurs were the dominant organism on this planet for 160 million years; compare that to humans who’ve dominated this planet for not even 1/4 of one million years. That fact alone is astonishing. It’s also amazing to realize that it’s been 65 million years between the dinosaurs and us, and for almost all of that time we were not the dominant creatures on this planet. And with the planet itself being 4.5 billion years old, our entire human history-even before crude pictures drawn in caves-is just a small blip on the radar, a tiny flash in the grand scheme of the planet. Just a galactic sneeze.
The concept of immortality is attractive to humans since most of us are afraid to die. The thought of living forever is romantic; it helps ease our anxiety and depression. There’s no proof it’s true but most people don’t let a lack of evidence influence their opinions. Bertrand Russell said that Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones. Because we’re typically small-minded and self-centered, humans have created an entire planet’s history around our own timeline. We’re also guilty of assigning purpose and design to the entire universe based on this inflated sense of self. To the believers and perpetrators of myth, Earth’s history began with humans. To many of these same types, the universe works in accordance with our wants and desires; for time out of mind we were convinced we were the center of the universe, torturing and murdering those who would disagree. Only now, due to the brave and thoughtful work of our scientists and Freethinkers, (and not coincidentally, those most derided by myth-perpetrators) we’re now aware of our place in the universe and just how fractional and fleeting our existence really is. Continue reading
My dad likes the morning. He’s up at the crack of dawn, before most everyone else, and he loves the way the worlds looks and feels at that time. I however, like the night. I’m sitting here in front of my house at 3:30 am; the insects are active and loud, the air is damp and sweet, the world asleep. It’s surreal. Everything else is quiet aside from the night creatures.
My dad likes the morning, I like the night, but I think we like them for the same reasons. That’s kinda how we are; in many ways the same but just a little different.
What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself.
I’m not sure exactly when Mark Twain said that but no doubt well over one hundred years ago, and it’s true. I saw this quote actually for the first time today and, strangely enough, it made me think of why I maintain this site, why I feel compelled to write. It’s a compulsion really; it’s as of all this stuff is going on in my head and I just have to get it out. What’s weird is that I’m not even sure that I care how big of an audience the site has; it’s really just the purging that matters. Well, the purging and the recording. Maybe it’s death that compels me, maybe it’s the fact that this collection of cells that make up my brain, my personality, my character, my soul, will one day shrivel up and die. It will cease to exist, as will my entire body, and there will be virtually nothing left. After so many years there really won’t be a single thing left, not even bones. It’ll be as if I was never here.
How does one stop this? There is no immortality. The closest thing we have is passing our genes and our stories down to our children. But even then it get diluted, genes mutate and fade, children remember their parents, maybe their grandparents, but then those stories fade away. Eventually no one remembers you. It’s just the way it is. The closest thing I’ve found to immortality is to write my autobiography and pass it down. As long as each generation passes it down (and not too many other family members write their own stories to compete for my descendants’ time) then I can be a little more sure that someone will know who the hell I was. I won’t just be a name on a family tree somewhere, just a name with birth and death dates. Just a named duration of repetition. That’s what really sucks about death, that eventually no one will remember you, aside from the whole not being alive anymore part of course. Continue reading