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Existential Neuroticism: An Anticipatory Grief Observed, Part 1

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A conversation I started to have one day with myself…
(flowing from my attempt to deal…quite poorly at times…with the reality that one of my dearest friends will one day die as a result of long standing medical issues that get more complicated all the time and the existential/spiritual crisis this has thrown me in to as I try to get ready to let him go)

“What had you hoped it would mean?”

There it was. This was how it was going to be. Just there. Naked. The simplest of questions cutting right to the chase.

“Which “it” are you refering to?”

I tried to play dumb, tried to convince myself that really there were so many questions. So very many. That is was really complicated with so many implications and nuances. That “IT” doesn’t really lend itself to being contained in one single sentence.

Ah…that’s part of the answer, isn’t it?

“I had hoped “it” would be bigger. I had hoped it would be so weighty, so important, so complex an impossible to comprehend that it would take the rest of my life to understand it. I mean, if I get it—if I figure it all out—what am I supposed to do with the rest of my time?”

I believe life is inherently meaningless. Or maybe that is my hypothesis. Maybe what I had hoped…do hope…is that I am wrong. Maybe that is why the question landed so dead center…so naked and simple. I mean, the implication is that there IS NO meaning but if I want to ascribe some that would be just fine. Either way. Up to you.

But if I ascribe a meaning, does the meaning have any validity? Does it then become real? Am I to create my own reality and….

Ah, I get ahead of myself…

Perhaps the answer is yes…I hoped it would mean.

Does it make a difference if it doesn’t? Does it make a difference if it does? Perhaps that is what I am here to find out.

“Can I go play with Nietzsche and Sartre now?”

“Okay, but don’t expect them to give you the answers. This is an essay test. There are no right or wrong answers. No cheating.”

There she goes again. No right or wrong answers. Is that what I had hoped? To find a right answer? And what would that be? The right answer is an answer I can live with. The wrong answer is the one that I will chew over like a dog with a bone until I mash it into a pulp that I can reshape into something that fits a more preferable version of the truth.

I had hoped there would be Truth. I had hoped. Do hope.

“What had you hoped it would mean?”

I think the question is too big. Or perhaps it is too small. If I answer too quickly, what next? Isn’t life about the search? Isn’t MY life about the search? Like the postcard on my desk “and then one day, for no reason, Fred Benny’s head exploded.” And then, one day, BECAUSE OF no reason, Laura exploded, like a drop of Easter egg dye in water, dispersed to the thinnest sheen over the surface of the water.

“While you are at it, that nice man, Viktor Frankl, wanted you to stop by…if you were going to be in the neighborhood.”

Yeah. I think I’ll be in the neighborhood.

Laura Young is a personal development and business coach. She is a contributing author to A Guide to Getting It: Purpose and Passion and Become Your Own Great and Powerful: A Woman’s Guide to Leading a Real, Big Life. She has recently been featured on By, For and About Women and Artists First Radio. Learn more about Laura or visit her blog.

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