Anh asks Jack Thompson ‘What have we been put on this planet for? What’s life about Jack?’ and Jack replied:
‘I have to say I think that’s an impertinent question.
This is it.
You want a reason for this, you want a purpose for this
Life itself is a joy.
I hope that when I am dying, I have time enough to applaud.
Thank you, life itself. A celebration.’
The more I’ve thought about life the more pointless I feel it is. What’s the point of finding a cure to cancer? We’re all going to die anyway. What’s the point of making money? We’re all going to die anyway. What’s the point of making friends? Having a shower? Exercising? Learning to speak French? We’re all going to die anyway.
All roads lead to death and death can make everything feel meaningless.
I’m not an ambitious person and I think a strong driver behind my lack of ambition is that I can’t really see the point to anything enough to warrant being ambitious about it.
What’s the point of writing this piece? We’re all going to die anyway.
Everything is meaningless. Everything is pointless. I’m on top of a cliff edge, falling backwards into the emptiness of it all.
And like Jack, I’m discovering that life itself is a joy.
I’m learning to waste my life.
Growing up in a Christian culture, everything was so burdened with the weight of eternity. You couldn’t just have a coffee with someone, it had to be ‘coffee with intention’ – a catch up with a side of sneaky-salvation. You couldn’t just go to the shops and buy what you needed, you needed to be the ‘only bible people would ever read’. You couldn’t just be in a band, or write a book, or have a job – everything had to be so meaningful, spirit-lead, divine, purpose-driven – you couldn’t waste a single moment because at some point, after you die, you’ll have to give an account for everything you’ve ever done or said and didn’t do.
It’s not just Christian culture, it’s our society in general. Productivity is king, work hard and rest when you’re dead. We’re commanded to be productive every second, of everyday. You should be exercising while you’re working, learning while you’re travelling and keeping in touch with everyone while doing housework – squeezing a little more into today than you did into yesterday.
I’ve always seen cooking as such as waste of time – you spend an hour in the kitchen preparing a meal that you’ll consume in less than 8-mins, and then you’ll spend 20-mins cleaning up.
What’s the point? Why go to the effort? Just whip up some toast and be done with it.
Now, it’s the wasting of time that is most attractive to me about being in the kitchen. It’s all just so inconsequential – it’s liberating. I’m planning on experimenting with a new pasta dish for dinner, I’m going to spend time peeling and preparing food, listen to a podcast, carefully and tenderly cook it to perfection (to the best of my ability) and then eat it all – and I’ll never remember it.
I started a book yesterday, and I finished it today. Wasting my life reading.
Wasting my life writing.
Wasting my life watching TV shows that make me laugh.
Wasting my life spending time with friends.
Wasting my life playing with my cat.
Wasting my life watching a possum eat the apple pieces I left on the balcony rail for him.
Wasting my life baking brownies from a packet mix.
Wasting my life planning what colour to paint the kitchen.
Wasting my life listening to podcasts.
Wasting my life doing all the things I love.
Trying to live a life of meaning, a purpose-driven life, a life worthy of Jesus dying on the cross for me has honestly being killing me for years.
I just can’t do it anymore. What’s the point?
I can’t escape the thought that the best lived lives and the ones where life itself was the point, lives that are wasted on joy, love, beauty and truth. I imagine they’re the lives that smile at God, and he smiles back.
[Art by Pascal Campion]