What now?

by Jon Sullivan - 2023-07-28 - Jonism

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A year ago all of my remaining possessions were boxed up and stacked in a pile in my living room. A lot of shit has happened since. I still feel untethered to a purpose.

Out on the balcony enjoying the morning sun. Working on some dinner party ideas. Since that's a thing I do a lot now I guess? A hummingbird swoops in to suck up some sugar from my feeder. I muse on how odd it is that the only healthy thing you can do with refined sugar is feed it to the most delicate birds who use it as rocket fuel. ("Fuck you Jon. I'm a carb lovin' dinosaur!!!") The smells of the fish chowder I'm making for breakfast drift out the patio door. And the same thought that has haunted and paralyzed me for weeks returns to my brain to bounce around endlessly with no resolution.

What now?

Sure.... There are the usual chores of good living. Need to get to the car wash today. Then to the grocery store for provisions. Deal with the rental lease. The mundane. But it seems my days as an old person will be filled with the quandaries I thought I'd locked down in my youth. What does happiness mean to me? What is it's currency? How much of existence is an illusion? What is the demarcation between ethics and morals? And when does one supersede the other? What is my duty as a responsible adult to know or care about small towns? Am I crazy? Would it matter?

What is my purpose? I'm not a professional philosopher. There is zero reason for me to know or even care about the answers to these questions. Or is that part of my purpose? The reason to leave San Diego was to find a purpose in life and live it. But I have changed. And my relationship with the universe and people and everything has changed. And the "big questions" need new answers now. Answers I don't seem to be able to find. Yes, there are some easy ones - Kindness is more important than winning and losing. All morality should derive from compassion. Where science fails, love can succeed. Trickle-down economics only works under democratic socialism.

And... Maybe.... Non-zero chance.... Maybe it doesn't matter at all. I'm happy. Everyday. Often I'm so happy I have to fight back tears of joy. Is that enough? If I'm happy, and I seem to make others happy, and I strive to be a good person? Do I really need to worry about the formal derivation of ethics, about macro economics, about the meaning of life, if I'm happy irregardless? Unless I force it, there is no venn diagram where my current relationship with happy overlaps these questions about existence and ethics and equality. It's not like having it bounce around in my brain, no matter how forcefully, will ever solve bigotry or greed or ignorance. Matter or matter not, it's stuck in my brain, and I doubt I'll ever resolve it. Not at this age. Not in this country.

What is the purpose? I get up each morning eager to embrace whatever life brings me. But I don't know why. I don't feel like I have a purpose, in either the existential or practical sense. A year ago I seem to remember the purpose was to find.... finally..... happiness. But that only took a couple months. Don't I now need to have a purpose beyond that? Sure, there is always adventures and photos and socializing and unscientifically spreading good energy to strangers. That doesn't feel like a purpose. It feels like an identity.

It doesn't matter. Just be happy. If I say it enough times, will it become true?

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