(Not really) The meaning of life

A few months ago, I decided that I would discover the meaning of life.

Flicking through my notebook of thoughts and experiences during this time, I discovered something very surprising.

I haven’t done anything productive at all.

But I did make a list of what I want as my last meal (that’s kind of productive, right?).

  1. Creamy mashed potatoes
  2. A jar of peanut butter
  3. Eggs in every way you can make them
  4. A bag of mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  5. A chocolate milkshake, no cream

I have a really sophisticated palate, I know.

I am no closer to understanding the meaning of life. But I am hungry…

 

mashed potatoes peanutbutter egg Reesespeanutbuttercups

 

Let me know what you’d want for your last meal in the comments.

 

When did I become old and boring?

  • I can’t even remember the last time I saw the outside of a night club (are they still called that?) let alone the inside of one.
  • I don’t understand most of what passes as popular culture these days.
  • A big night out usually involves dinner at 7pm, check by 9pm, and bed by 11pm.
  • Recently I turned up at my “regular” drinking hole only to discover that it closed a year ago.
  • I used to wear nothing lower than 4½” heels. All day. Every day. Every where. Now pains my knees and back force me to wear “sensible” footwear (but I haven’t gone as far as orthopedic footwear) (yet).
  • I bring a jacket and an umbrella whenever I leave home.
  • I yell at my neighbours if they make any noise after 10pm.
  • My favourite tv channels are the History and National Geographic channels.
  • I used to enjoy marathon shopping outings of 6 hours or more (in 4½” heels). Now I only have the energy to go to the supermarket (in sneakers) (while carrying a jacket and an umbrella).
  • The last few all-nighters were due to insomnia, not partying.
  • On New Year’s Eve, I set my alarm for 11:55pm. At midnight I said “Yes! Made it to midnight!”. Fifteen minutes later, I was asleep again. I didn’t even bother to get out of bed.

Lifetime

Recently my cable provider launched a new channel called Lifetime and we all get to trial it for free for a while (yay for free stuff). Judging by the show line up, it seems to be a channel for women (yay for being a woman).

Unfortunately, like most free stuff, it ain’t great.

On their website they say “Lifetime is an entertainment destination offering the highest quality dramas, movies and reality. A television network infused with passion and empowerment, it is the leading channel for women in the US. Lifetime reflects the full spectrum of the modern female experience, delivering top tier, female-focused entertainment that encourages co-viewing.”

Sorry but you’ve missed the mark. The content is kind of insulting to my intelligence. Prank My Mom? The Client List? Puh-leeez

Anywho. What annoys me the most is the pathetic advertisements about Lifetime. I can avoid the channel but it’s adverts have polluted every other channel too!

Several different (but equally pathetic) adverts are running concurrently.

In one a bunch random people (I think they are supposed to be local celebrities / important people but I have no idea who they are so they missed another mark) talk about their take on the meaning of life and ends with their tagline in the form of “One life, [Verb] it”. Cherish it / live it / sing it.

Bleah. It’s so gooey I could vomit.

In another one a woman (presumably a fashion designer) earnestly tells an unseen interviewer “Even if it is something as trivial as fashion, I would like to leave behind something that meant something to someone”.

What the…?

I don’t want to show off or anything but I fed my cat today. It meant the world to him since he doesn’t have the skills to open his own can of food. Yes, that must be the purpose of my whole existence and all the events that had to occur just so I could exist (like my grandparents going on their first date…). I know the meaning of my life!

Or was it a different event? Like when I was in school and I screen printed a t-shirt for my mom. She said it was great and even wore it a couple of times!

Or the business plan I developed last year. It gave my team something to do for the year and they earned bonuses because of it. And money is nice right? And then there are all the customers and whatever they got out of our products.

Wait a minute. According to Miss Fashion Designer, basically anything and everything I do is some sort of meaning-of-life moment. So I can go on living my blah life and since every little thing I do has some sort of ripple effect on someone, I can die thinking that I’ve been the most awesomest human being ever and I have fulfilled my purpose in life and everyone around me is better off because of me.

Yeahhh… I don’t buy that.

I started writing this blog because I was trying to work out whether everything I do is a waste of time (and if so, then what I should be spending my time on). I don’t have the answer yet. But despite the fact that I fed a helpless animal today, and I designed a cool t-shirt for my mom years ago, and I devised a plan to sell lots of sprockets to lots of customers last year I don’t think that I’m doing enough. This isn’t the meaning of my life.

And shame on anyone who’s willing to settle for such blahness.

You’ve just wasted your entire life on being a loser

Raise your hand if you or someone you know watched some sort of sport during the weekend. Thank you. You can put your hands down now.

I watched the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix. Formula 1 is the only sport I watch. I started watching F1 in the early 1990s and since then, I have only missed watching less than 10 races.

So considering the vast amount of hours I have spent on watching F1 I think it’s safe to say that I have a pretty good understand of the sport. I know about some of the rules and regulations and strategies around testing, tires, overtaking, flags, safety car situations, pit stops, drivers championship points, constructor championship points, etc. I can even identify drivers as they zip past the camera by their helmet (even the one that changes his design every race).

But I don’t really understand the sport. In fact, I don’t really understand any pro-level sport (I am not talking about the weekend game between you and your brother). I don’t understand why anyone would spend every waking hour training to do one thing better than someone else especially something as unimportant as driving faster while avoiding accidents, mechanical problems or bad luck. Or being the fastest man to run 100 metres.

If you do succeed you might get a trophy or a medal and some money. And then maybe someone will start a Wikipedia page about you. And hopefully someone would spell your name correctly in some sports almanac and 10 years from now hopefully someone skimming through the list of names pauses next to your name and thinks “Yeah, I remember him/her. He/She was pretty good”.

But you were “pretty good” at a sport. At running fast. At driving fast. At hitting / kicking / running with a ball. At an unimportant activity! (I admit that if you were some sort of archery champion then it might be a useful skill when the zombies invade or aliens invade or when all of the power turns off a la The Walking Dead, Falling Skies and Revolution). Ignoring the bonus payout of a kazillions of euros, why do you want to be the best F1 driver? What does it say about you as a person? How have you made the world a better place? Is it really worth the years of sacrifice?

And what if you don’t succeed? You’ve spent hours in the gym. Hours running drills. Cut out on ice cream and deep-fried anything. You’ve just wasted your entire life on being a loser.

Now friendly sports I understand. I don’t mind the occasional friendly game with someone. It requires no training and no special diet. It’s just two people having fun and usually ends up in both people laughing at my uncoordinatedness (A couple of weeks ago I swung a bowling ball into my own knee). And I always lose. But it’s ok. Because I had fun.

Money is a waste of time (sorry mom)

I live in a different country from my parents so I don’t see or speak to them very often (yes I know that’s a lame excuse). The last two occasions ended up in shouting and then a nagging follow-up email from my mom (which makes me want to avoid them even more).

The second last conversation and follow-up email was all about money. Over coffee I (stupidly) shared my financial situation to them which resulted in them sharing their total shock and disappointment in me (don’t worry, I am not destitute but I will accept donations to my vacation fund (scuba diving in the Maldives)).

The last conversation and follow-up email was also kind of about money. I told them that I had had enough of the poorly managed company I worked for and my idiot boss and I was about to have a breakdown. I (stupidly) then went on to tell them that I resigned from my nice cushy job and was toying around with the idea of doing charity work, starting a small cookie company, and potter around at home for the rest of the time. Cue disapproving, totally unsupportive comments from my mom (the concept of positive support doesn’t really exist in my family) along the lines of you’re going to fail, you’re not going to make any money, you’re going to be poor, etc.

Other than being reminded yet again that my parents think I’m a total failure, the only other take-away is that my parents think that having money and having a job (to generate money) ARE really important.

This is a common belief amongst many people but I don’t agree with them.

There are a lot of post-apocalyptic tv shows right now – Falling Skies, The Walking Dead, Revolution, etc. Have you seen how useful money is in post-apocalyptic world? We have plastic notes so I don’t think I could even burn them for warmth.

Thankfully we haven’t been invaded by aliens or run over by zombies or had a virus eat all the energy in the world. What good is money to us? It’s a means of acquiring things or experiences (‘stuff’). Last week I used money for human food, pet food, petrol, parking, a visit to the chiropractor, a book, guitar lessons and several beers at the bowling alley. I also used a 20 cent coin as a guitar pick. Except for food, I could survive without the rest of that ‘stuff’ (yes I know we could grow/raise our own food but I live on the 26th floor and I can’t fit cows in the elevator up to my apartment). It is nice to have ‘stuff’ but we all probably have more ‘stuff’ than we actually need and we keep acquiring even more ‘stuff’ all the time. Which is funny because I can’t take any of the ‘stuff’ with me when I die. You know the quote “he who dies with the most toys wins!”? He who dies with the most toys… left a lot of stuff behind.

Don’t get me wrong – I like money and I like using it to acquire things or experiences. But I don’t think the attainment of money should be something that takes up a significant portion of my day/week/month/year/life.

Is this all a waste of time?

It is the middle of the day on a Thursday. I am currently sitting on my couch in my pyjamas. Why isn’t she at work you ask? Well…

Up until recently, I was working as a marketing executive in a large multinational medical device / pharmaceutical company. In fact, I have spent most of my 36 years working – working for grades, working for 1st place trophies, working for money, working for approval.

I didn’t like school. I didn’t like the sports I played. I didn’t love the musical instruments I played. I didn’t like my jobs.

So it got me thinking – is this all a waste of time?

Needless to say, since the question is much like asking myself what the meaning of life is, I couldn’t form a complete answer to my own question. But I knew that working 60 hours a week definitely wasn’t the answer. So I left my nice cushy job and my nice cushy income and find myself here in the middle of the day on my nice cushy couch in my nice cushy apartment.

Actually it has been a month since I said goodbye to my nice cushy job and my nice cushy income. I have gone from a pointless life (by my reckoning) to yet another pointless life (by anyone’s reckoning). Yes on paper my current life is awesome – I get out of bed at 11:30am, accomplish some minor task or activity (yesterday my only achievement was to wash my car, the day before was to get a facial, the day before that was to go to the gym), make dinner, and finally sit on the couch some more before getting ready for bed. And I finally feel relaxed and somewhat happy (I am not idiotically laughing for no reason, but on a happiness scale, I guess I’m a smidge on the happier side of neutral).

But after years of working (for grades, money, etc), I guess I’ve been conditioned into needing to achieve something. I had grand plans of “finding myself” and “learning how to be happy” and a whole bunch of other sub-topics which you’d find in the self-help section of the bookshop. So for the rest of this blog I guess I will be exploring whether there is something out there that isn’t a waste of time.