The Meaning of Life *

* …is the name of the movie I was watching and paused to write what lies below.  I’d never be so pretentious (or presumptuous) as to title a blog post “The Meaning of Life” and actually mean it.  

That said, I did just do exactly that.  Well… it seemed appropriate.  To me at least.  You be the judge.


I’ve spent so much time (37.5 years) learning and absorbing: history, science, places, people…  If it all ends soon I’ve barely had a chance to do anything with everything I’ve taken in.  And mulled over.  And played with in my mind.  And reshaped and rethought and reformed into things exciting and new (to me at least).

And you’re sort of taught that that’s the point, aren’t you?  To work with what you’ve learned?  To be able to DO something with the skills you’ve honed over the years, or the intellectual trinkets you’ve gathered and stored and managed to retain because they meant something to you or you saw something in them?

The irony is I finally do at this moment in my life (my life!) feel ready to regurgitate something, to DO something with all of that preparation.  To make something with everything I’ve taken in.  I’m positively bursting at the seams.  Because, are these things we’ve loved and learned as precious if they never get to see the light of day again?  I think they are still precious, but I think they shine even more brightly if we get to bring them out to show to others.  Because it’s precisely that act of making something of them that clarifies and focusses the beauty that caught our eye in the first place.

But what do I want to make?  What have I been preparing for, for all these years?  That path hasn’t ever been perfectly clear, and I haven’t been suddenly handed the answer.  But I do have an idea.  A very good one (to me at least) of what all that preparation has been leading to.  I just haven’t gotten there yet.  But I feel close.

So if the curtain goes down now, or any time before I DO get there, I couldn’t call it a waste (being alive was terribly fascinating, and continues to be– that alone was worth the go-round).

But it would feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.

So why didn’t I already do it?  Why didn’t I already get there?  I’ve thought about this a lot.  The simple answer is I wasn’t ready.  And the other simple answer is that there’s something clarifying about a deadline– particularly when the “dead” part is literal.  Maybe it is this potential rush to the end, this increasingly obvious ticking clock, that has finally lit a fire under my ass and convinced me to get on with the business of doing something with this (both literally and figuratively) swollen brain that I’ve got.  Or maybe the extra and ultra swelling of my brain over the last year has provided a clarity and organization to everything that came in before it.  And made me (even more) bursting at the seams.

Either way, clearly I should be doing something.  And, as quickly as possible.

Well I am writing.  Right now, in fact.  Write now.  In fact.

That’s a start.

I just don’t know if I’ll have enough time to get it all out.

That’s a problem.

That is, to be honest, the main problem.  The brain cancer I can deal with, because I am happy.  I’ve been, happy.  I am a bit lonely with this experience… I am, in fact, sick with experience… but that’s tolerable.

What’s not tolerable is the thought of this brain disintegrating with all of that wonderful stuff I’ve gathered trapped inside of it.  Whether that disintegration happens after I’m in the ground or while I’m still here (my biggest fear is that it’s already begun), I hope I’ve managed to extract enough juice from it and put it on paper so that I don’t go out feeling like I’ve let be buried a piece of perfectly ripe fruit.

Because… well maybe that would be a waste.

And come to think of it, maybe that actually is the meaning of life.

To me, at least.

Now back to The Meaning of Life.

A Hong Kong Orange

4 thoughts on “The Meaning of Life *

  1. As evidenced by the number of people who love you and support you in this difficult life experience, you have been making your mark in time. It’s true that we spend our life learning about the people who have made history, through inventions, political actions, writing, films, whatever…. But the people we model our lives after and remember and talk about are the ones who affect us personally. For me, it’s my big-hearted aunt who raised her children and four others during the depression, while working as a night nurse supervisor, or my grandfather, who started a company during the depression and provided jobs for others, or my 10th grade biology teacher, who emphasized the importance of ecology… The life you have lived so far has had effects you don’t even realize. You are already my model for how to handle potentially life-ending or altering circumstances with openness, grace and self-sufficiency – and I barely know you. What you say and how you act is all I need. So just live, Chad. There is no homework!

  2. All that amazing stuff in your brain comes out every time you write. Your descriptions of living and dealing with brain cancer are real, funny and full of a wisdom that must come from both your 37.5 years array of life experiences and your brain’s ability to pt it all together. Every time you post, the result is something that makes me want to uread everything you’ve written and will write, to see if that same synthesis of experience, deep understanding and sheer intelligence will be present again. It always is, and that’s a little bonus peek into something transcendent.

    I want/hope/pray (to the universe?) that you’ll get to create your magnum opus. I want -very much- for you to have the satisfaction of the creation. But, as much, I want to read it/ see it/ experience it for myself. But still, EVERYONE would rather have the work in process (you) than the actual work (I know this because I have my own pesky lethal disease, about which I am not nearly so eloquent or at ease).

    If you’re not able to get it done, for whatever reason, life or death, you’ll still have done it, because your life is that amazing thing that’s bursting to get out. People who will never meet you won’t get to experience the documentation of some discreet part of your creation, but all of us privileged to know you in any way will still experience the creation itself. And that’s completely awesome.

    Maybe it’s just self-comfort, but I think the real synthesis of all we do with our bodies and our minds is the way we live. Some of us are lucky enough to use our mix of experience and talent to make art, but some artists are miserable people. Some of us have the right mix of neurons and support to make an art of living/doing and live joyful, happy lives, Some of us just exist, too consumed with pain or fear or need or expectations to get beyond the motions of being alive. From what I can know of you, you’re an artist, both in application and in life. Every post is creation, a metabolizing of all you’ve done that turns your brain chance experience into something sublime.

    I hope/pray that you’ll figure out what it is you want to make, and that the making will be a wonderful thing. I also send hopes and prayers that you’ll get to have your self till the end, and that the trip to that point – however long – will be joyous.


  3. The two readers comments above said my thoughts far more eloquently and succinct than I ever could hope to. I agree with both whole heartedly. As an artist, I understand the need to express, to leave one’s work behind, perhaps as a legacy or contribution to the world at large. But, regardless of whether you get this work or that work done is irrelevant, as you are already touching hearts now. There isn’t something that has to “get done” for it to have an effect or leave a mark for the future. Just being the amazing, brave, intelligent writer you are, doing whatever you can when strength allows, is enough. You have no idea who you are touching with your words and courage what it means to people. And the truth of the matter is, whether we live one day longer or fifty years longer, we, as human beings, will always feel we didn’t get things done. All we can do is live day by day, take a moment to smell the roses, and do what we can do. As always, I respect your tenacity and your drive and your willingness to put yourself out there. Take care of yourself and know that you don’t have to “do” anything to have a profound impact on the world.


  4. getting off temodar is going to be a great way to feel like your going from zero to 10 in under 30 seconds ha!

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