What is my life for? – that’s what matters most. How I answer this question changes the meaning of my actions, choices, and habits. If I decide my life is for pleasure, I’ll seek pleasure. If my life is for adventure, I’ll seek adventure. If it’s for wisdom, I’ll seek wisdom. Probably the answer isn’t everything, but a mix of a few things.
I have my entire life ahead of me. That’s at least 76 more years, give or take. The worst thing I could do is build for my 76+26-year-old-self a cage. I’d build this cage slowly by neglecting to think about what kind of person I’d like to be. And I know exactly what this cage would be made out of. It’d be made out instant gratification, egoism, worry, resentment, comparison to others, a desire to be liked by everyone, a lack of discipline, shitty porn, an atheistic attitude toward Orthodox Christianity, and all the other stuff the Buddha tells me to let go.
And I do need to let go. Otherwise, my mind will be steered by miscellaneous impulses, collected haphazardly, brought under no scrutiny from the man in charge. And that man in charge is me! I’m the one in charge here! I’m the captain of this ship. I’m in a position of power. And like anyone who’s tasted even a drop of power, I’m afraid of losing it. I’m becoming paranoid of mutiny. I’m becoming paranoid of my lowest impulses betraying myself, steering the S.S My Life in the opposite direction. I’m afraid of my crewmates discovering the meaning of my life while I slumber in my cabin. I’m afraid of being slapped by the meaning of my life and not knowing what hit me.
Even if the answer to my life is something lowly like greed or envy or lust, I at least want to be present and awake and sober enough to come up with that answer myself.