You are going to die.
As am I.
There is no way around this. There is no medical breakthrough coming through to stop the inevitable. Your body will once again return to dust, being recycled into the fabric of the earth. The iron in our blood, remnants of an ancient supernova, will seep back into the soil.
Humankind has wrestled with this ever since we began. To do so is part of being a human. Some of us tune out, plying ourselves with substances, entertainment, relationships...anything to take us away from the creeping dread that we will one day, not too long from now, cease to be.
The more aggressive personalities attempt to live forever through creating something that might outlast them. (The operative word here is "might".) Even then, we will vanish from the minds of others quickly. It's the fate of all living beings.
An ex-girlfriend of mine once stated what she (and many others) thought was the life goal - to have the largest amount of people at your funeral. I'm not sure that I buy that. Sure, it measures the supposed impact that your life has. There are worse things to focus on. But is that really it? I'm not so sure.
What is the meaning, really? I really think about this a lot. If you are a frequent listener to this podcast, it's pretty obvious. Usually, I arrive at the conclusion that being of service to others, connecting with others in a meaningful way is the answer to the question. Ultimately, I suppose that is my best guess, even though I frequently deal with the thoughts of nihilism, of nothingness, of nothing meaning anything at all.
The other answer that I've flirted with is that of simply living as the answer. In the face of oncoming and certain death, why not live passionately, lovingly, drinking in the full experience? And this answer makes sense to me on a lot of levels, save this one. I've tried the route of hedonism and, to be honest wasn't very good at it. Call it lack of constitution, but I realized pretty early on that the biological and mental price I had to pay for such.
Life started becoming a series of collapsing. "I need a drink" then "I need food" then, the next morning "I need a bloody mary to fix this hangover". When I handle my life through a series of practices done each day, each week - I find myself ready to produce at a high level. I literally work all of the time and then sleep. It's true. But where is living and enjoying this amazing world that we live in?
Perhaps the trick is combining the two. Moderation of both. Life and contribution. Meaning cycled and recycled, through the consumption of experience then alchemizing them into very real contribution to others. I know that with contribution, I feel most alive. But, what's the point of feeling alive if not to live?
This is a question we must ultimately truly answer for ourselves. While I go around and around, I think it ends up being the balance. I need to move a little more into the "living" direction, without sacrificing the contribution. I'll check back and write about it as the summer develops. It should be interesting, if nothing else...