Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Several years ago, I was in a restaurant finishing my meal when the waitress asked if I need anything else. I said, “just the meaning of life.” Without hesitation, she responded, “the meaning of life is to give life meaning.”
I know I wrote of her before, but I cannot remember the point of that earlier post, but my all-time favorite science fiction television series from my childhood is currently on one of my streaming services. As I binge watch the series, I happened on an episode of a machine that had basically become self-aware and acted like a childish brat. This got me to wondering what a mindless, sentient but highly intelligent creation would think of in their pursuit of meaning. In turn, it got me to thinking about my own life, and if it has, had, or will ever have any significant meaning.
My regular readers might find this topic redundant. I know I’ve written of it before, probably several times. Ultimately, I think this is okay, especially for a topic such as this one. The reality is that we are, all of us, growing and changing. My thoughts on the subject are, no doubt, different from my thoughts even a few months ago, or hours for that matter.
I have so many female friends who truly believe they have had no contribution, and even compare themselves to me claiming they’ve accomplished, in their opinion, nothing in comparison. I find this humorous, especially for my friends who have had and raised children. To me, raising future generations is one of the greatest contributions you can possibly make to a society. I say women because, while I have many male friends who not only fathered children but also played significant roles in raising them (which is not always the case), men just don’t tend to think in these terms, or at the very least, don’t tend to share such thoughts if they do have them.
I have always wanted to father and raise children of my own, but alas, it wasn’t to be. It’s one of my greatest regrets in life, having never had children. I don’t know if I would have been a good father or not, but I would have made an honest effort. I even considered how I would handle certain topics like religion and charity. Being a man, though, when my friends ask advice, I’m willing to give it, although always from a theoretical, rather than practical perspective.
On the flip side of the coin, I’ve managed to complete some remarkably rare accomplishments. My friend posted on my social media page today what people can say they’ve done that they don’t believe anybody else has ever done. My response was that I figured out the mechanism by which distamycin recognizes the DNA base pair sequence AAATT in the minor groove. If you are wondering what that means, it basically means that I’m pretentious.
The thing is that there are many responses to her query, with some serious bad assery to these comments. One of the respondents spoke of driving a car while it was on fire. I mean, seriously, how cool is that? I guess the thing is that everybody has had some seriously cool things happen in their lives, and some amazing accomplishments whether or not they’re aware or willing to admit just how cool they are. The difference is, of course, that all I have are these little victories, tiny accomplishments that mean something to me, but in the end won’t have any significance at all in the grand scheme of things. When I die, the world will merrily spin on without my progeny to carry on my legacy.
My only advice is to be proud of what you have accomplished in your life, and don’t try to shortchange them. There is no doubt in my life that you’ve had some amazing wins in your life, and those should be celebrated. Most importantly, rather you are a man or a woman who raised a wonderful child, be especially proud. In this day and age, it’s not easy raising good children, citizens of tomorrow, with the hearts, minds and souls to carry on your legacy proudly. This is not an easy task, but sadly, nobody will ever confer a degree, or grant a title, or provide a certificate of great parenthood, but somebody should. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and although it will be a truncated celebration for many of us thanks to the pandemic, it’s still a wonderful reminder of the love with which my friends are surrounded, hopefully in person but at least in desire. As for me, I’ll be spending it with my friend and his daughter, if they’ll have me. I hope he realizes how proud he should be of her, although, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I know that he is.