Work Hard Then Die

Black cat

Once, in a family gathering, and so suddenly, a relative asked me, “What are your plans?”

I decided to ignore her and to not answer her question. I thought I didn’t need to explain my life to her and even if I tried, she won’t get it anyway. It’s just that we are not in the same frequency level and so our perception of reality, and of life, is starkly different.

I knew she wanted to ask if I am going to get a job, and if I have plans to marry. Does the latter sound familiar to many singles out there? 🙂

I suspect she thinks of me as a lazy person, or one who is without direction, or plans and goals in life.

I do not do ‘work’. . . . I only do what I want/love to do, and what I want/love to do, I do not define as ‘work’. There are things I love to do that are compensated with money, and there are things I love to do that are not compensated with money, but I do them anyway just because I love to do them. I have decided to follow this personal life ethic because I want to, and also because I believe that the foundation of true success is doing what you love to do. It may be a slow process, but at least it is a sure and enjoyable process.

And because of this life choice, I consider myself to be living with ease and being in the flow. Some of my friends think of me as simply lucky while family members are intrigued no end.

Before my current choice of lifestyle, however, I had been, in fact, a hard worker, a perfectionist, and competitive in my past endeavors. I only stopped being the previous version of myself because of a dark and heavy shadow that kept tugging at me. This dark and heavy shadow would not leave me – not until I confronted it during the time of my Saturn Return (29 years old). Such darkness and heaviness first descended upon me after my father’s death – when I awakened to the cruelty and absurdity of what we call ‘life’ is.

My parents worked very hard. I blamed hard work to be the cause of their deaths. My father worked very hard in another town while my mother worked in the fields from dawn to dusk. They worked really hard – just like their parents and grandparents and great grandparents down the generation.

Now, I’m not complaining that my parents were hard workers. They lived their lives the best way they know how, given the circumstances of their time. And I am very grateful for everything that they imparted to me – even if it is the lesson to not follow their steps as it is not always the best way to live.

After my father’s death, I still vividly remember when I asked my mother – why?

Ma, why was I born?”

What do you mean?” She looked at me in a manner that as if my question did not deserve to be asked.

I don’t know . . . but what am I born for? What are we people born for,” I asked, somberly.

Do you not like to have been born?”

I almost screamed to her, the painful question I had been asking myself over, and over again:

Look Ma, we were born, we grow up, we go to school, we argue and get insulted in school, we marry, we raise children, we work very hard, we get sick, we suffer, and then – we die – just like Father. What is it all for?”

I asked her with utmost sincerity, practically begging her to tell me the answer to the mystery of life.

Mother could not answer my question. She did not know the answer either.

So I went on with my life carrying that burden of a question on my shoulders – a heavy, sinister, shadowy entity following my every walk on Earth – reminding me if this is all there is to life.

I was sorry for screaming at my widowed mother, but I just really needed to know, ‘why?’

The Man And The Beast

Albert-Einstein-judgement

I decided that God is testing men, to show them that they are no better than animals. After all, the same fate awaits men and animals alike. One dies just like the other. They are the same kind of creature. A man is no better off than an animal, because life has no meaning for either. They are both going to the same place – the dust. They both came from it; they will both go back to it. How can anyone be sure that a man’s spirit goes upward, while an animal’s spirit goes down into the ground? – Ecclesiastes 3:18-21*

In the evolutionary ladder, humans are said to be the “peak” of creation. This idea has taken a very deep root in the minds of – guess who – humans, of course. Humans take so much pride in being called God’s magnum opus. On the other hand, the animal and plant species couldn’t care less if we think of them as lower life forms.

Who occupies the top of the evolutionary ladder is decided on the basis of an organism’s ‘intelligence’. But who is clever enough to measure and rank each species intelligence? And using whose standard of measurement?

It is the Homo sapiens with his advanced tool – the yardstick.

Both the godly (religious) and the reasonable (scientific) have often been inclined to support the notion that humans are the fairest of them all. We are the top creatures – God’s masterpiece. After all, it was stated in the holy book that God created Man in His own image.

To so-called thinking humans, it does appear very rational that we must logically be the pinnacle of evolution. We have intricate scripts and languages which set us apart from other species. We could create and use complicated tools to build cities and civilizations. The advancement of our technology was not due to the genius of the apes. Humans have stepped on the moon; plans to colonize other planets are on the way. The argument, or evidence, supporting the theory that humans are the apex of evolution, could go on and on.

There is no doubt about humans’ brilliance and unending ingenuity. But what if the measure of evolution is happiness rather than intelligence?

Who could say for sure that a man is happier than a cat, dog, or fish?

The cat, in all its self-contained feline glory, lounges luxuriously all day – an enviable state of existence, I must say. A dog has no bills to pay and yet every day is a vacation. The fish does not stress worrying about the future, even if in the next moment it is caught and thrown into a sizzling frying pan. For letting itself get caught and preyed upon, who could say that the fish is dumb or less evolved?

In this ephemeral existence we all share, the beasts seem to only care about enjoying their moments. Measured against the human yardstick, their simplicity, their being-in-the-moment-attitude, and their lack of prudence attest to their lower-ranking status. But what if these simple beastly attributes are what they are here for to show the intelligent (sapiens) human (homo)? To take life easy, to enjoy the moment, to act only when urged (or inspired), and to let God/Universe take care of us?

In the end, after all is said and done – humans, animals, plants – we all die. In our short lives, perhaps caring about feeling good (like the animals do) is the most intelligent choice to make after all.

*Ecclesiastes is a very thin chapter in the Bible, which I tried to imbibe after being confronted by Death – the compelling event which had set in motion my very intense search for the meaning of life.

The Night I Started to Cry

I was fifteen when my father died. I was a clueless, spaced-out teenager secluded in my private mental world. During my father’s wake, people came in and out of our house. Many of them I know, and many I do not know. I watched, disinterestedly, as people cried and recited or sang their very sad eulogies.

I did not shed a tear.

My elder sister asked me if I did not miss my father. I just stared at her. I did not know what to say to her.

Yes, I did not miss my father.

People were crying because my father died. They said he passed on, finally, after suffering from a long illness.

He died and I did not cry, because I did not miss him.

I did not know what death means.

My father, because of his work, spent a lot of time away from home. He came home on weekends, usually, but sometimes, he showed up after two or more weekends had passed.

Many months have passed since my father’s death. It has been a very longtime; I started to notice his absence. I started to miss him, badly. I know in my mind that he had died. Everybody knows that too. I had seen him sick, paralyzed, emaciated beyond recognition.

For days, family, friends and strangers alike watched a gaunt body lying still in a coffin . . . and then, when the appointed day came, the men quickly lifted the coffin and hastened off to the mountains to bury it.

But for some reason, an unknown, mysterious reason, I expected my father to just show up – one day – just like the many weekends he always showed up, without fail.

A year passed and my father never showed up!

In that moment, I got it – what they say death means – it is the reason people got very sad and cried.

Then I started crying, every night, for many years.

 

natives