My second dose and existentialism.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A vial labelled with the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration//File Photo

I think about the meaning of life regularly. The “why” of existence – my own and in general terms – has always been a puzzle.

Why people? Why life? Why headcheese?

The largeness of the questions provokes my retreat, often in unhealthy ways. It gets scary out in the dark reaches.

I avoided dealing with the existential conundrums for years with my eating disorder: I hid behind superficial niceties that drove me insane. They also my fears of scarcity.

Scarcity says there’s not enough. There’s not enough of whatever it is that you need, not enough love or life to go around, so you’d better earn your air. Scarcity says life is a battle: wrest your share from the masses. Scarcity says only the best can win.

One of the many purposes of therapy is to shine a light on that lie.

There’s enough. It’s like love. The important things we need from this existence are infinite and limitless. Even the things we perceive as boundaries are constructs. Life is more fluid and flexible than we allow it to be. We’re quite Victorian with the human existence, when you get right down to it. We’ve got the whole thing in stays.

Conclusions are one of the things I like about driving. Driving gives me time to both chase thoughts and solve problems, all while harmonizing with the hits of the day. It’s funny that they worry about cell phones when so many of us drive with only half an eye on the ball.

Anyhow, as I was saying there’s enough and we don’t have to earn our air.

My recent rejection of the “bend-over and take it while seething internally” philosophy let me stand my ground at the vaccine clinic without breaking into a flop sweat. I don’t have to cave because they want me to and I don’t owe them an apology because they made assumptions. Enforcing my boundaries will not lead to my being ostracized by the tribe.

This doesn’t mean I’m now a rude harpy (though that holds some appeal). It does mean that I’m standing for my vaccination and I’m not feeling sorry for the now-abashed volunteer who aggressively tried to get me to sit BEFORE checking to see if my cane was for more than just show.

My firm “no” unaccompanied by an explanation strangers aren’t entitled to felt amazing. And it worked. And, I wasn’t afraid. There’s enough. Social ostracism is not the fate that now awaits. Once upon a time (and in days to come again, I’m sure), things felt different.

I think I’m going to take my fierce and fully vaccinated show on the road. Or at least test it out in the grocery store. That’s often where my action plans often go to die.

Perhaps shopping carts do something to the spine?

photo credit: Reuters

By Em

I like writing. Words help me unpack my thoughts so things can start to make sense. Once I have both myself and the universe figured out, I plan to take up macrame. "Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing, and learn as you go." E. L. Doctorow

14 comments

  1. You write a terrific blog. We appear to be two peas in a pod with regard to soul diving. You just never know what’s waiting down there in the pits, eh?! It’s all good though—when you can see it, you can erase it. When you don’t know it’s there, it grows teeth and growls. I prefer the eraser approach.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ups and downs. I’m sorry – I keep meaning to email but then I don’t. I will get there and hope things are still looking up for you 😊

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    1. Ooh, I’m sorry you had that Google experience. I’m not sure seeing images of everything is an overall improvement in the quality of life. 😉 I’ve looked at too many things I shouldn’t have because I can’t resist curiosity. Thank God I’m not a cat.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. To earn your air. That has been perhaps my greatest fear throughout my life. The feeling that one has to battle the rest of humanity and the very earth itself in order to survive. Aged 65 I am at last making some progress; perhaps because in a sense I have given up the struggle and retired to write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope that retiring has brought you a sense of ease. I found that not working didn’t help me as much as I wished – perhaps because it didn’t come with unlimited funds. Does one still struggle with existentialism if one can pop on the family jet and fly to the tropics on a whim, do you suppose?

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      1. It is not so much that I have to retire as that I can no longer find things to do which pay. I would be far happier working at something but somehow trading financial markets seems to have become a lot more difficult over the past 20 years. And my tolerance for risk has shrunk to miniscule proportions. I do think that financial security or its lack has a lot to do with our happiness. I don’t think I have ever wanted luxury super yachts or private jets. But the ability to continue to earn one’s keep would be welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I appreciate that. I’m not risk averse per se, but post my last breakdown, I didn’t seem to get back my ability to multitask or handle prolonged stress. And I definitely can’t handle prolonged stress while multitasking, which used to be my superpower.

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