Descartes summarized existence as cogito ergo sum, “I think therefore I am.” I have wondered a lot lately about what it means to live. What gives our existence meaning? Is a life worth more when it is given a sentence in a history book? What about a paragraph? A page? A chapter? What if a whole library stack was filled with books that analyzed your life, thought, and impact? Would life and existence mean more then?
For a long time I thought of myself in terms of academia. I planned to pursue education to its ultimate end (the Ph.D.) and then spread my knowledge on to the next generation. That, I felt, would mean my legacy would continue. My life would have meaning as my thoughts shaped the thoughts of ensuing generations for however long they endured (whether “they” is the thoughts or the generations I’ll leave for you to ponder). But then something happened. Bills. Marriage. Eating. Breathing. Calling and being called. E-mailing and being e-mailed. Punching the clock to indicate presence or lack thereof. Is that life? Is this what I waited for since coming out of my mother’s womb?
I know I think. My wife is annoyed by how fast I fall asleep at night. But there are times when my mind is racing and sleep eludes me. On those nights I know Descartes. Cogito ergo sum. It is definitely not a dream. But is thinking all there is to life? Is there not more?
Some people pursue sports. Some religion or faith. Some emptiness or nothingness. Some money. Some might. Some fame. Some wisdom or knowledge. Some pleasure or love. Some have stopped pursuing at all and just want an end (the movie, The Sea Inside, for example). And yet, as much as we pursue, I find very few who feel that they have achieved it. There is still something more. Something else.
Somehow, I think we are all still waiting. Waiting for life to start.
We are…Waiting To Live.