Now how could I not quote this whole paragraph?

I sit around often and just reflect upon my life. I often come to the conclusion that my life is less than worthwhile and that it is completely without a point. I have held this opinion for several years. I know there are many who would see me and wonder why or how I could feel this way. I am a moderately successful person who has more than my share of material items, a trustworthy car, a nice place to live, and I seem to eat well. So, some might wonder what my problem is.

No, that's not me. This is a blogger who has taken the name Tiger, and I assure you, I didn't teach him any of these phrases. For one thing, I would never have described myself in such comparatively upbeat terms. This is more my speed:

By some reckonings it has been a good life — no particularly debilitating diseases, at least so far as I know, and, with the exception of a few rather painful periods, fairly well insulated from the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. A perfunctory glance at almost any central city will turn up half a dozen people who, given the chance, might be far happier with my lot than with their own.

Still, something is dreadfully wrong, and has been for some time. Circumstances which should bring joy to the heart instead generate annoyance or resentment. Even the most minor decisions bring on spates of anxiety, followed, not by action, but by paralysis.

I hasten to add that this was written before I started showing serious symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Still, Tiger and I do have one thing in common: unending, discouraging, gut-wrenching loneliness. The difference, of course, is that he doesn't deserve his:

It is not like someone does not come into my life on occasion who seems inclined to be my companion, but there is still that unfulfilled dream to consider, that dream than came to a screeching halt on August 3, 1994 when my wife died, childless. That was the day I lost my focus on who I was, where I was going, and what I was supposed to be.

I have read this paragraph seven, eight times, and every time I break down about halfway through. It seems so damnably unfair somehow. And yes, I know: life isn't "fair", never has been. But if it's true that we live on through future generations, as Tiger believes — well, let him tell you:

Children are our immortality, for, through them, a part of you continues on and on, for as long as your bloodline continues. My bloodline is coming to an end with me, it seems, as I have not been able to find a suitable mate to produce those prospective leaders of the future. I am failing in my life's purpose.

My bloodline of course endures, though I would argue that the success of my children is directly proportional to the extent that they avoid following my example. And indeed, six hours away from me, they seem to be faring well; they are neither wealthy nor carefree, but they seem to be solidly on the positive side of the emotional ledger, and to me, that's far more important, especially since I never quite seem to be there myself.

Tiger, I seem to recall, is slightly younger than I; while it's possible he's amassed a pile of neuroses that rivals my own, it seems unlikely. If I have a worry here, it's that he might be expecting too much from love: it can change your life for the better, it can make all the years of pain and sorrow disappear, but it doesn't have to. Sometimes we are worse off when we're in love than when we're alone. Still, how many of us can actually say we've given up on it?

Besides that damned dwarf and me, I mean.

The Vent

8 August 2003

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 Copyright © 2003 by Charles G. Hill