A number of popular magazines have a section called “Things I Know For Sure”, or something similar. Many times, I skip to this section – regardless of whose list it is. I am fascinated by a summation of what life has taught any individual. That is why I don’t feel it overly self-indulgent to create and publish my list for you (Although, let’s be honest. The very act of blogging is a pretty self-indulgent practice).
Many of you I have never, and will never, meet in person. Why would you care what I have to say about the meaning of life? You don’t necessarily, but it is my hope that it will inspire you to create your own list.
So please read the following, knowing that they are NOT presented as some sort of empirical truths, but rather “The World According to Jean”. For me, this list is fluid and should change as new things come to light. And since I believe the meaning of life is whatever the individual assigns to it, this sort of exercise is pretty important to me.
In a world where we are always faced with the unknown, and bombarded by just how little we do know, I find it strangely comforting to tie a string to my own kite of wisdom and watch it fly!
In no particular order……
1. Being overly concerned with how others perceive you is narcissistic. Claiming to not give any sort of shit about the perceptions of others is anti-social. It is yet another thing we must balance.
2. If you are doing them right, sex and friendship will get more satisfying with age.
3. If you plan to live past 50, no suntan will ever be worth the ravages it leaves behind.
4. One’s children are the only vulnerability that cannot be overridden.
5. Doing a constant post-mortem exam of your past is an excuse to not listen to the answers that are in the present.
6. Anything that science and psychology has not yet explained, has simply not been explained yet. For me, there is no comfort in anything mystical.
7. Love does not conquer all. In fact, it is often quite impractical.
8. Even “honesty” is subjective.
9. The greatest virtue is kindness.
10. The greatest travesty is mismanagement of resources. I’ve never met a person who did not in some way waste what was available to them, myself included.
So there it is. It took me a surprisingly short time come up with these -and I could likely write 20 more fairly easily. It was not an emotionless endeavor. Some of these were learned with great pain. Still, looking at them all in a row is the adult equivalent of turning on the closet light to scare off the Boogeyman.
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with a black and white list of your own. One day, when you feel particularly adrift, it might just be your anchor.
I bid you peace.