Notes and letters from March to May 2001

Junk food breakfast, and meaning in life

“Work, marriage? Hmm … one needs money, true. One needs companionship, and children sometimes compensate people for not having anything else to give meaning to their lives. All these things have been tested over time and are regarded as universal truths.

Nevertheless, there is more than one way to satisfy the need for money other than a life-sucking job; more than one way to satisfy the need for companionship other than marriage; and more than one way to satisfy the need to experience meaning in your life other than having children.

Take me for example, I’m trying to make it as a Sermoner, and although it doesn’t pay the rent, I do get a kick out of preaching to other people. As for companionship and children, well … it’s not a perfect world. McDonald’s sell a decent breakfast, though. Have you tried that?”

~ From an email to a friend (9 March 2001)

Always wandering?

I can get away with presenting myself as one of “them” – by living a somewhat unconventional but nonetheless middle-class existence. To some extent I want such a life. But there are always other lives to be lived. And I will always have one eye on the type of existence I’m living now.

I don’t think I will ever be able to truly live a conventional middle-class life, even if it is financially within my reach – and these days you don’t need to live in your own country to enjoy this kind of life. I will never be able to lead such an existence in a motivated, dedicated way. I will always be peering over the shoulders of my neighbours at the people who are still wandering, uncertain of what it is they have to or want to do, on roads that cannot exactly be called the “main road”.

~ From the Purple Notebook

… Or am I going to reach a point?

1) I think I’m going to reach a point sooner or later where I’d say, “This!” … “This one, not that one!” … “This way, not that way!” … “Here – not there.”

2) I might also reach a point when I’d start reacting against the idea of being a citizen of the Greater World; a time when I would retreat to a smaller world where fewer things matter – where it will be easier to make decisions.

3) I always believe there are things that I’m supposed to do, and then there are the things that I actually do every day. I am always convinced that what I’m doing is never as important as what I’m supposed to do; that I repeatedly fail to do the more important and more meaningful things.

4) “Don’t you want more?”

“More ice cream?”

“No, more everything! Don’t you want to do something important? Don’t you want the whole world to know who you are?”

“[No.] I already have everything I need.”

~ Note from the Light Brown Notebook (The dialogue is from a movie of which I only saw a small part on TV.)

The challenge: DARE to enter, like John the Baptist / the wilderness alone

~ From Icarus journal, Monday, 9 April 2001

Thought from “Exile, part six”

To write as much as possible affects who I am. The last thing I want is the cheap insult of just talking about what I want to do. I want to lay something on the table through which I could say, “This is what I’ve been doing with my life recently.” It affects my dignity. It affects my self-respect. It affects other people’s perceptions of me and how I want them to see me. And it affects my future as someone who managed to do what I wanted to do, to not be yet another victim of “That’s just how things work,” and “We all had dreams when we were young.”

(Wednesday, 11 April 2001)