Saturday, December 19, 2020

the point of it all

 it's the second half of december 2020. the end of a rather different year. but also a year that has forced a lot of people to change the way they live their lives fundamentally.

and for some people, forced them to strip away a lot of the things that they got a lot of day-to-day pleasure from, possibly without really being conscious of the fact.

in fact, for most of us, 2020 and the associated restrictions has reduced our existence to the equivalent of "treading water" - just doing what we can to stay afloat.

which is fine, and probably even good - the personal equivalent of "gardening leave", that most people (including myself) would not experience unless forced to. some people took the opportunity to get fit(ter), others to take up new hobbies, and the few i'm envious of, actually took up creative pursuits that have borne fruit, like nickolai's book and grenville's album.

personally, i dabbled in a bit of android development, and am also brusing up my javascript skills.

but honestly, 9 months of "treading water" later (in fact, not that much later - maybe even as early as june?) i wonder how people who do not have such direction, get themselves out of bed every morning.

most people (myself included) have to focus on feeding themselves, literally and metaphorically.

many others with kids, have to focus on their development and future - the unique challenges and opportunities being locked indoors with their little future selves almost 24x7 present.

some people (the single, retired, those not living with family due to work etc) have to deal with the loneliness of it all.

of all these different aspects of being "locked down", the one that strikes me the most are the retired. because they represent our eventual future (except for those who hope to work till their dying breath, i guess - but even such hopes do not really turn into reality as intended).

one of my personal goals is to be at a point where i can live comfortably off my savings/investments, with a roof over my head, food on the table, and the level of luxury i find comfortable. if/when we have kids, enough money to guarantee their basic security as well (does the list ever end?). at that point i'd be more free to pursue things other than work for money's sake. because while my current work does give me some personal fulfilment (in other words, i don't detest my job :D) i know there are things i'd rather do, but they don't have the stability/income level to achieve my long term goals.

so that's work and money. but there's more to life. even with 8 hours of work, i always had plenty of time to do other things (even after vegetating on the couch just to "recover" from work). what I do with my free time now probably predicts what I would do with it if i was "free" 24x7. there's obviously entertainment: ther'es a lot of good movies and music out there. as i love to say about movies: "life is too short for reruns". but when it comes to music, i'm happiest listening to my favouites over and over again (yes, i have a lot of favourite music!). but either way, it's entertainment. about as fulfilling as a good meal cooked and eaten by myself, or with shruti. maybe a good drink to go with it.

but after a certain point, all of these things that feel good, do not give me that extra something to keep going. hiking, cycling, riding the motorcycle all help postpone that empty feeling a bit. but beyond a point, it's inevitable.

so, what then?

there's obviously charity. helping others not as well as myself in different aspects. and then there's something that's not so much "charity" as "networking" - helping others simplify/solve their problems.

but is that it? helping friends/acquaintances/charity network?

and what happens when i'm too old to do that? when i start feeling like i've helped all i can and am now being helped more than i'm helping? when my own knowledge is so far behind the times that my advice is more of a waste of everyone's time?

I can see it happening to a few people around me.

i'm trying to motivate them to do something to keep themselves active, mentally and physically. but as i try no motivate them, i can't help asking myself: why? and does what i'm asking them to do even make sense to them? they make sense to me, because i'm preparing myself for the rest of my life. for the things i want to do in the future. but what about when that list is empty? do i go about filling it for the sake of having things to do, although the only reason i'm doing them is to just keep going?

and if not, what?

we prepare ourselves for the end of our lives, but what happens when all of that preparation seems pointless?

i know some retired people don't feel the way i have just described. they busy themselves with their grandkids, books, or just slowing down and letting their daily routine fill their lives.

is that the point of it all? is that what i'm preparing myself for?

the value of life

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