What makes it all worth it?

I’m at a crossroads of sorts. The opportunity exists to grasp my own destiny, granted not for long, but it brings up a lot of questions that I have fudged in the past. Realistically from my present perspective I’ve got about 20 active years at most before memory loss and incontinence set in. I’m a bit like those people who suddenly realise that they don’t have long to live because of some life threatening illness. Well, maybe not quite as bad as that, but sobering anyway. To get to the point, however, what should I do to bring meaning to my life and stop the inexorable drift into safe inactivity?

I suppose that for many years the needs of the hour pressed on me and suggested how to spend the time available with a sense of purpose. Career ambition, personal relationships and family pressures determined the content of most days. Still so, but not quite as overwhelmingly.

Among the things that have most recently impacted on my life choices, especially on my working and ‘intellectual’ life, is the computer. Firstly my Powermac and then my desktop G3 and G4, followed by the PowerBook for work and eventually my iMac for home started to shape how my time was spent and what I was capable of doing. I realise also that in the last ten years or so that, not only the computer but firstly also the iPod, then the iPhone and now the iPad have all, with burgeoning software and Apps, increased my capacity to research, learn and do things with a facility beyond the wildest dreams of earlier decades.

But with such facilitation and support have come pressures to attain competency in the application of numerous kinds of applications at least to an elementary level. Furthermore, the availability of ideas, opinions and facts on the Internet loads brain numbing pressures onto a single individual and can also result in time guzzling diversions. It is easy to believe that you are engaging with a vast virtual society when all you are really doing is talking to yourself in an empty room. On balance, though, the new devices and the Internet have brought a valued dimension into my life. The knack is to enjoy it and use it in a productive way without becoming intoxicated or addicted. That makes it essential to tear yourself away from the dreaded screen and keyboard whenever it starts to drain one’s mental energy.

But back to my main theme. In all of this, where is the satisfaction of worthwhile meaning? What does make life worth it and more than just a sequence of aimless diversions?

These are not easy questions to answer for anyone who is not driven by clear cut ambitions or clearly defined obsessions. For me, as a person driven more by doubt than by certainty and certainly as one who constantly dabbles and indulges a curiosity that probably outstrips their intellectual capacities, it still has to be the search for some kind of fulfilment through a bringing together of the various fragmentary insights I believe I have experienced and strands of enquiry I have embarked on, in an explanation to myself of the nature of experience and what constitutes a worthwhile participation in it. This is one part, the other is to engage with experience (reality, what’s there) in a creative (making sort of) way. Then to bring these activities into a dialogue with others. Some of this comes from my profession as an architect, but there’ s more than this in the time honoured search for what constitutes a good (enlightened/fulfilling) life. There are so many voices to listen to, yet one still wants to add ones own. The likely issues to grapple with are set out in my life goals diagram(to follow) and the means of engagement are through art, design, social activities and personal relationships.

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