May 11, 2006

The Process of Elimination

The way I see it, there are three ways to live your life. You can live your life for the past, you can life your life for the present, or you can live your life for the future.

Living life for the past is clearly the worst option, looking objectively, but it is resiliently seductive. It's lame. It's like the poor Spanish woman that cries to go home and the has-been always searching for what he'll never be again. It doesn't make sense, but that robs it of none of it's potency. There are times we all live in the past. I'm as guilty of it as anyone. More so, even.

Living life for the future seems the most noble cause. But what future are you living for? Fame? Fortune? Family? Bettering the world, okay, but what will really stand the test of time? A thousand years from now, who will remember your goals, your ambitions, your desires? There are a select few of us, probably already hand picked by fate, who the world may remember. For the rest of us, forget our emotions; the world will have long forgotten our names, our faces, and our prescence.

So I'll live my life for the present. It's not selfish or shallow or even shortsighted, it's just the process of elimination. And I recall a quote from Spanglish:

"I live my life for myself. You live your life for your daughter. None of it works."

1 comment:

J. Archer said...

Said like a Westerner questioning her culture. :)

I'm glad you are, by the way. You are intelligent in many ways.

I wonder what you mean by living for x. There's trying to save a dead thing, and then there's doing what people in collectivist cultures often do--their orientation towards the past is manifest in their reverence to ancestors and lineage. I figure you mean stuff like trying to save a dead thing. Like trying to recreate the same bond with a pet. I hope I'm not being insensitive, you might have some very deep hurts that sparked this.....

As for being noble... I think of Nelson Mandela, working for his people. You can't really think of his work in terms of time orientation alone--he also wanted some good state of affairs. But his work was done in his present--you might think of the present as the future meeting the past.

Last thought. At the end of the day, I find myself caring less about recognition than knowing that x person/group has 'grown.' My approach to life is a servant... if people have been well served, that is enough. As you might suspect, I have a heck of a time with conflicting interests, stemming from very fundamental differences in worldviews.