"I'm a sick man...a mean man. But, actually, I don't understand a damn thing about my sickness; I'm not even too sure what it is that's ailing me. But I ask you, who on earth goes around showing off his sickness, and even glorying in it? It's indecent, vulgar, and immoral to live beyond forty! Who lives beyond forty? Fools and good-for-nothings."
I will never grow to be anyone of any real importance. I will never do great things, will never say anything of any great significance; no one will read about me in books, or quote me in research papers. My life is meaningful only in that I ascribe it meaning. It is like a woman agreeing to hire a man to organize her bookcase, and then asking him to carry it out to the dumpster. The work of Sisyphus.
Is it enough to work to eat, to sleep, to run out the clock? Is this any less meaningful that the composer of ballads, the social revolutionary? "Our lives are just this little nonsense thing..." I need to solicit reasons for continuing on this treadmill to nowhere. Religion has provided some good ones, if only to help me keep my eye on the beyond, incite a fiery anticipation for the grave, acquitted of this life sentence. My family's enjoyment of my existence is another; if nothing, my existence is an obligation.
If I spend my days eating, sleeping, and trying to love, I would not have a very strong resume. People would say, "you have not done very much with your life." And so I would adopt various activities and pursuits in order to gain some clout, prove them wrong, give my parents something to brag to my relatives about. And in doing so I would fill my life with meaning and divert my attention from the flickering flame on the horizon that promises to consume me, from the seeping sky that threatens to blot me out, and from the salty arm of the sea, reaching to work me back into the silt. When they come for me I will look surprised, and wonder, "from where have you come? why are you here?" And I will be greeted with the empty echoes of Time's silent messengers.