When I was younger I thought I could read other people’s biographies to know how to live my life. Inspiring lack of sense of self, no? And of course I chose to focus on two entirely different walks of life, reading up on famous statesmen and authors.
I learnt I had to go to law school and suffer, basically. I was especially concerned to learn that Eugene O’Neill had barely survived a bout of tuberculosis by the age of 28, thanks to some rigorous, harsh times out sailing the world and working his hands to the bone. This seemed a lot for me to accomplish within the year. (Yes, I was 27 and still thinking other people had the answer.)
Then, to my great joy, at age 30 I discovered I had latent tuberculosis. After a few hours of shock, I felt a jolt of delight. What a great embrace, to hold one’s own death inside one, to walk around with it, knowing. An odd response? I started doing things I hadn’t dared before. Being apparently a timid kind, this didn’t include setting off on a schooner and experiencing treachery and baseness in Tahiti or elsewhere. Just the simple things in life that I’d always wanted to do.
Anyway, time has passed since then. As time tends to. And this little intro blog isn’t so much to focus on the excellent shock to the value system that death provides, but rather to note that what I’ve learnt since then is that we make our own paths. The true actualization of self can’t exist on someone else’s path, after all.
That said, I still scour the internet for wise quotes and humorous quotes rather bloody frequently, so I’m not perhaps completely and utterly cured of my desire to hear someone else’s gem and warm it in my own purse. 🙂