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It's that cosmic noise. Can you hear it? Resonating all over the world. On every planet that has some form of existence. All screaming the same words. It's that feeling of excitement like when you were three and your dad just got back from a long trip away and you were wondering if he brought you something special, 'cause you are. It's that nervous uncertainty, fear and anticipation you feel waiting for that job interview. It's the anger and frustration you express when your sister calls you for the fifth time this week and it's the same old story, always whining never happy. It's like that.
When you finally stop to breath and you realize that you are no one special, just like all those other no one 'specials' who are trying to get by in their high pressure job or trying to make that credit card payment by cutting other bills. Those people who are hanging out at the mall with nothing better to do. Or the ones that I admire the most, the people on the corner at the entrance to Wal-Mart with a cardboard sign that reads "Need brain surgery Vietnam Vet anything will help." Now that takes guts.
The internal humming in your brain that allows you to steal a moment or two to fantasize about being special. To examine all the good deeds you performed this week. To believe, if even for a moment, that you are special. But then reality kicks back in and it all goes away. The longing for a better life returns. For life to have meaning. To be happy. To be truly gifted at something. To be famous, rich, recognized, admired, sought after, sexy, beautiful, thin. Well it's like that. The entire cosmos is all screaming about the same question. Everyone wants an answer. Some try to find it spiritually, others through the use of drugs and sex, still others try to make it all come true by hingeing their entire existence on someone else's gate. Their kids' gate, their husbands'gate, their friends' gate. Oh you've heard them all...'It's not what you know it's who you know' ....'better a friend in need than a friend in deed.'
Are people really that awful? I hope not. It's just that they all want to know the answer to the 42 dollar question. What am I doing here?
Well for what it's worth. Here's my thought. After 38 years on this planet. No great achievements. Unhappiness abounding. Lots of physical labor jobs. Happiness is what I make it. What am I doing here? I am here to help others. I can help myself along the way I believe. I haven't seen a list of rules so I think that's allowed. I had my son when I was 20. Caesarian section. I wouldn't recommend it. While I was under I had a dream. I dreamt that I talked with God. I was in a wonderful place where I felt secure and wanted and happy. I wanted to stay there forever.
A light appeared and I begged it, "Please let me die, let me stay here, let me die".
The light said authoritatively "No. Your work is not finished here."
I resigned myself to the fact that I had to stay here for however long. But I wasn't happy about it. I dismissed it though as a weird dream. A couple of days after my surgery an operating room nurse came to see me. Her expression was one of deep concern.
"I am so glad you are alright," she said sitting gently on the bedside as she patted my hand.
"Why?" I queried.
Puzzled she replied, "Didn't they tell you?"
"Tell me what?" I questioned curiously.
"We lost you. You died. They didn't tell you?" she said emphatically.
"No, they didn't" I replied somewhat shocked. "Then I guess it wasn't a dream. I dreamt that I died," I said as I stared past her now trying to recall everything that I could about the dream.
I thanked her for her concern and after she left I thought about the dream some more. It was so real. I don't think the surgeon would be telling me that my work was not finished here. I believe that I was meant to live and that my work is not finished here. I haven't been able to become everything that I wanted to or achieve everything that I thought mattered but I have been paying more attention over the last 18 years and well, I do matter. Think about it the next time you're in too much of a hurry to help a coworker. Too busy to talk to you neighbor about her cat. Too rich to speak with those people that don't drive Mercedes. Too goal oriented to realize that your five year old doesn't want to be Wayne Gretsky. You influence everyone around you. You would be missed if you were not here. You have a goal, to live and to help those you love learn how to cope in this world.
Are you up to it? I say bring it on.



The following comments are for "The $24 answer By Jessica"
by Jessica

What's the meaning of life? I can answer that: whatever you want it to be. Sadly, that's a pretty empty answer. It's equivalent to saying "2+2=5 because I want it to." Just because you want something, and believe it, and need it to be true, doesn't make it true. It's a rough fact.

The surgeon wouldn't tell you "your work isn't finished," because that implies that we have some kind of goal here on Earth. That's depressingly not true. We're born, we live, and then we die. It doesn't matter what we do in the meantime; we're on the road to salvation (this is Schopenhauer's salvation, not the Christian kind) and it's not important what we do along the trip.

( Posted by: evil_bacteria [Member] On: February 20, 2004 )

the meaning of life
I once had a dream about the meaning of life. In it, I climbed up to the top of this mountain, and there was this wizened old man in a loincloth, and I said, "Okay, Mr Guru, what is the meaning of life?"

Without hesitation, he answered, "Kal-Kan Catfood mixed with tuna." Into my chagrin, he added, "What makes you think the meaning of life has anything to do with you?"

I make joking.

This was good, but it would read a lot better if you put spaces between your paragraphs, so that the text doesn't get all smushed together.

( Posted by: gsmonks [Member] On: February 20, 2004 )

memento mori
That's Latin incidentally for "Remember you must die"

And surely that question regarding the meaning of life is worth more than $24?

Your inverse of 24 halfway through this opinion piece reminded me of Douglas Adam's fantastical answer to this question. A superior race of beings builds a super-computer with the sole aim of answering the question "What is the meaning of life?". Years and years later after the completion of the computer and the time needed to assess the question, the computer spits out a piece of paper. On that paper are the simple marks "42" What is this ?! The townspeople cry out and immediately insert their next question into the machine, "What do you mean by 42?" The computer takes several days to answer their question, to which it finally replies "Well, I'm having difficulty figuring that out. You may have simply asked the wrong question, though I'm not certain. You'll have to build another super-computer to find out more. I can give you the specifications on it, but it'll take you another 100 years at least to build it." The towns leaders gather to discuss the situation, and eventually concur that the super-computers suggestion is worth following. "On the upshot," a towns leader throws in "at least our philosophers and writers will have another 100 years to make a few bucks ruminating over the question."

I think I agree with EB here. While it's certainly important to consider our own mortality and live our lives accordingly, I don't necessarily believe that there is an inherant meaning to life. No puzzle with an ultimate and singular answer, no final or complete solution. Just a lot of possibilites, choices and an incoherant summary, 42.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: February 20, 2004 )

Thanks for the feed back. Incidentally I was not really trying to give the answer for all but mostly trying to get across that happiness in this life, albeit hard, is what I make it. And believe me it's hard every day.
But I try to still try to be nice and help when I can cause it's makes me happy. Judy

( Posted by: Jessica [Member] On: February 20, 2004 )

Me, too
Actually I was a little confused, for a minute as well. As I was reading this article I kept thinking, this sounds a little different from Jessicanm's usual style. I didn't catch on until that last comment either. Hmmmm.

( Posted by: Hazelfaern [Member] On: February 20, 2004 )

Yes it's Judy
Since I'm new here and when I signed up I thought I read somewhere that you could choose a pen name. So I did. However I didn't realize that my actual name would show up at the bottom of the piece. I must not have clicked some radio button. But alas you know the truth. It's just Judy, not Judith, not Judi, nothing exciting like Jessica. So sorry Jessica I didn't mean to step on your toes. But it's a great name.

( Posted by: Jessica [Member] On: February 24, 2004 )

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