I had a very strong existential out-of-mind-body-Talking-Heads-How-Did-I-Get-Here consciousness overtake me for a few moments today.
And not just for me on how I went from a kid playing Star Trek with my best friends Alan and Alisa for hours and hours in the warm afternoon San Antonio sunshine without a thought for anything else (except maybe the Koogle peanut butter sandwiches Mrs. Polanski would have for us) but the imaginary aliens we needed to eliminate from the Enterprise with our make-believe phasers and never-dreamed-possible communicators to dashing away from my office where I am under-web-development-water and writing informational releases about water restrictions and zebra muscles so I can pick-up my new hybrid contact lenses designed to help me see better despite my astigmatism, drop off my shared tax return so my spouse can get it and the stupid chunk of change we owe in the mail and get back in time to explain to someone how to make usable bar graphs in Excel, adjust some graphics in Adobe’s Creative Suite, and be done in time to leave early in order to pick-up-then-drive my daughter to her ballet technique dance class.
If I sit still and breath quietly enough, I can remember the nearly 35 year evolutionary journey my particular mind and body have been on to get here. It’s quite the epic adventure from an idealistic and ambitious youth defined by infinite immortality to naive and reckless young adulthood filled with dreams of fame and fortune to frightened yet uber-responsible grownup peppered with aspirations of artistic purity and sainthood.
What struck me was how did not only I get from a simple creature existing among green trees and tall grass, foraging for food from my nearby surroundings and caring for my offspring to where I covet my Blackberry, MacBook and iPod, stress over the price of gas and coffee, and pray I am not screwing up my kids too badly but, on a larger scale, how did we all get here?
I know it will probably solidify my membership in the “whack-job” club, however, I truly had a momentary feeling of grief for that lost simplicity brought on by the multi-millennia of progress. It was if I could feel the cold, fresh water from a slow moving stream in the palm of my hands, smell the crisp, strong vegetation blooming everywhere and see my hands dirty with the pure red clay under my feet.
Mostly, in this flashback, I mourned the lack of worry this woman of extinction embodied. Life was life for her. She didn’t owe taxes on top of car payments on top of child care fees on top of a mortgage. She wasn’t concerned whether or not she doing enough for her children. She never dwelled on her aging face and memory, nor did she fret over whether her mate did either. She did not whittle away her lifetime contemplating her true purpose.
She simply spent each day inhaling, then exhaling and doing whatever came next to keep that pattern going.