Three years into exile, and I knew that I would become “old” soon enough. Maybe I was already. I hoped to be one of those people who enjoyed good health and a sharp mind right up until the end, but for many people, some sort of affliction came with the territory of old age.
I knew that Alzheimer’s disease, a cancer growing in this or that vital part, coronary artery disease, and stroke were among the many terrifying maladies that might be awaiting my arrival. Whatever the malady that would dog me through my last days, there did not seem to be any good reason to spend valuable time thinking about it too much.
The prospect of affliction could not easily be ignored, but no amount of thinking about what that place would look like or how it would feel to me was going to map its location with any greater precision.
Time would run out sometime, probably within twenty-five years. I had read that the limit on human longevity was around 120 years, and so maybe I had fifty years—certainly no longer than that. For the time being, I felt healthy, and it was part of my way of being to do what I could to stay that way.
Lacking a consuming passion or inspiring mission that would have defined a meaning for my life, I felt that my purpose was to find a kind of joy, to delight in beauty, to be interested in what was new to me and to pursue what I did not know.
I believed that we were meant to feel what it was to be alive. The urge to feel existence was involved somehow in the creation of life itself.
Some other stuff for later,
- 81And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. [Exodus 2:21-22] It was the same but different. There was…
- 80There was no turning back from our exile. My life continued. Though living seemed optional, the alternative was complicated as much as it was inevitable. Did I live to avoid the complication of dying? There was more to it than that, I thought. Of course there was. But what was…
- 71In the hour of my death, would I regret that my life had no meaning? Should that be a regret, after all? It seemed that some people—often those who offered sage advice about aging—advocated a search for meaning in one’s life. It was seemingly a noble cause. If you wanted…
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