Here’s something that occurred to me back in October when I was staring at a fire while on holiday in Kauai, and it has stuck with me ever since:
Unless you do something extraordinarily above and beyond life’s call of duty, perhaps inventing the automobile, or starting a war with a neighbouring country, or becoming the president of your county and instating some forever lasting amendment to your charter of rights or whatever your country has, or some other enormous accomplishment a person could achieve that similarly transcends multiple generations… and even THEN we could debate the rest of my point…
…once you’re dead and gone, and once every single person you ever met or knew is also dead and gone (I think that bit there was the core of my realization)… it really doesn’t matter to the world that you, as an individual ever lived.
Certainly this is where people who have kids would want to pipe up and say this is the reason they have kids. But the truth is once you die, and your children die, and everyone else below you in your family tree that ever met you dies (which really doesn’t take all that long in the grand scheme of things), the remaining people below you that will be alive, like anyone else who never met you before will in no way be affected by the fact that you were once alive.
Except of course the obvious point – if you didn’t have your kids, the people far enough below them that you won’t be alive to meet one day, wouldn’t themselves be alive if it weren’t for you. But think about it: if you instead didn’t have any kids, it really doesn’t matter to those people in the end because they would never have lived in the first place to even have a chance to be affected by your existence. In the end, at least to my point here, it really doesn’t matter either way whether or not you have kids.
I used to really want my name emblazoned on a park bench once I die, or have a street named after me somewhere… I’ve even considered being buried instead of cremated, so that random strangers walking through the cemetery might see my name there. But after thinking about all this, I no longer think there is really a point – when was the last time you saw a random dead person’s name on a park bench and had it affect you in any way…
Believe it or not, completely contrary to what I would have thought, this realization has somehow made me feel better about life! Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, or I’ve given up some responsibility I used to have. It really doesn’t matter if I “succeed” in this society of ours, because one day in the not too distant future, my past existence will no longer matter to a single person that will be alive at that time.
A very good reason to say “fuck it” if you are having to do something every day that you don’t enjoy doing. Life’s short, and in the end none of it really matters anyway. So just try to be happy while you can!