I am thirty two. Three more years, and I will reach what may be the halfway point of my life. I am being optimistic. Having great health up until you're seventy may not be that easy. But I'm going to try. Beyond seventy, though, I'd rather go quick than degenerate slow. Not that this prescription is universal. Just personally.
We are low entropy statistical configurations all. Electrons to galaxies. Smeared temporally, to different lengths. Not merely smeared, but each smear just one out of a family of possible. Whether they are all expressed and can't see each other the way I can't see light outside the visible spectrum, or only one is expressed, I don't know. I tend to think the former. The die ontological, the roll epistemic.
I have tried to be detached all my life, to some extent or the other. In my former spiritual life, and current atheistic. To be aware of this fate of all. To not hold too tight, lest I can't bear the inevitable. Besides, it was fun to turn the spotlight inward on emotion. To watch it dissipate like a wisp of smoke. Poor ephemeral ion potential configuration.
You know what? Fuck that. Fuck you Buddha, and the nimble high horse you rode on. I want to feel my feet grow roots.
I am a product of opposing personalities. My mother extremely motivated, my dad extremely laidback. I'm restless when sitting around, eager to give up once I start. I've let these two impulses run their course as they arise, under the belief that I'm letting the dice fall where they may. I've lost count of the times I started afresh, cities I moved to. Enough.
I'm beginning to examine what I really am. More dad than mom, I realize. Much more.
My dad was the happiest person I have known. He perhaps marked the upper limit of happy personhood theoretically possible. Siddhartha would be jealous. My dad passed away two years back. He was only fifty nine. I'm just beginning to understand the source of his happiness.
My dad lacked all ambition. He went to college in a small Indian town. Had the time of his life. Landed a job as a lecturer in the same college. Had the time of his life for the rest of his life. He travelled to every corner of India, yes. But never moved from that town.
He was an extremely active person. Just not ambitious. Active and progressive too. In a deeply patriarchical society, my dad's unconditional support allowed my mom to freely pursue her extremely successful private medical practice. It was unheard of for a woman to earn more than her husband in that town. Unheard of for a man to "tolerate" such an "insult" to his "manliness". Yet my dad laughed at such silliness. He mixed freely with people from other castes, ate meat at their houses. Something that was sacrilege in most Brahmin families.
He was an amateur engineer and gardener. He reused old materials to build stuff around the house. A ramp or walkway in the backyard. Elaborate wooden and metal frames to support growing creepers. Anything and everything would be reused in his projects. Rubber tubing from old bicycle tires, or old ropes used to draw water from the well in the backyard, shredded by use. He was very aware of natural resource use. Every time my brother or I would leave a light on, we would get a firm lecture. At the end of every year, he would take all our notebooks, tear out the empty pages from the back, and bind new notebooks with twine for us because we would grumble at reusing old notebooks.
He was deeply progressive, yet rarely vocal about claiming it to a larger audience.
I am beginning to realize that there are qualities of his, whether genetic or imbibed by observation, that are rearing up inside me with a ferocity I am not used to.
There is a calendar I bought at the beginning of this year. It has a different picture of a wolf for each month. Each time I look at it, I have the urge to have a house with a backyard so that we can finally get a dog. I remember the old German Shepherd we had in our house growing up. It is the month of December. I am at the last wolf picture. I am also at the end of my patience.
I hate it that a bureaucratic bungle screwed up my immigration process. I hate extending my stay each year, not sure if the only country I've lived in since leaving college, the country that has become my second home, would want me or would kick me out. My fate in the hands of some bureaucrat reviewing my appeal.
Even if I manage to get my immigration mess straightened out, I am not sure where I would want to live. My wife and I would both like to live in the south. Some place with no snow. But not a red state. Or at least a blue town in a red state. A college town, probably. But not such a small town either. Maybe some place like San Diego or Austin or Tucson.
On the other hand, my wife is stuck in cash-strapped academia, a short-term dead-end career in its own right, at least for a decade or two after graduation. Add the current economy to that, and I wonder if even hoping for some kind of long term stability is folly at this time. I think of going back to India, but that country got itself into a big hurry. It is now like the silicon valley of the 1970s, or the wild west of the nineteenth century. I don't think I can fit in.
When I was young I wanted to lead a nomadic life. Some kind of romanticizing of the archetype of the monk. Be careful what you wish for, they say.