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This is in response to an e-mail sent to me by a dear friend. The subject was how each decade of our lives is like a chapter in a novel. Her message to me, like most all of the e-mails she sends, matches what I am thinking at that very time. Weird, eh Johnie?

Each passing decade has felt like a chapter in a novel. I was in a relationship throughout my twenties where I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t understand *how* to love, and didn’t do a great job. That relationship ended a few days before my thirtieth birthday. In my thirties I did what I should have done in my twenties, I suppose: I did a lot of dating. A lot of indiscriminate dating. I sought love like it was a quest and found ashes instead. I spent some of the back half of my thirties trying to die because I saw what my life had been: A chasing of addictions.
What I have found at this point is that love is l’oeuvre. Taken one way, like in tennis, it means nothing. Not that love is meaningless, everything and nothing have the meaning you give to them. Otherwise your treasures are just these little baubles. Trinkets. Insubstantial.
l’oeuvre also translates to “the work” or “the masterpiece.” One’s life is one’s masterpiece, I suppose. But some of us have great editors who leave out or blur some of the less savory portions.
In the end, I am not sure if I care what meaning my life has to others. I care about other people but you cannot shake an addict from his/her addiction. And we are all chasing addictions.
Chasing personal addictions and battling affronts to our egos. This is the real story of the human race. Not feeding our families and seeking shelter, the rest of the animal kingdom manages to do all that well enough without the need for nuclear weapons, god myths and political parties. Nope, it’s all about where the next fix is coming from and who pissed us off today. Hang out with some active addicts sometime and you will see a perverse version of human existence. Or perhaps it is human existence in super-saturated color.
On the other hand, save yourself the misery and really look at what means anything to you. If it’s your kids or your family, then bravo. But still, ask yourself why. Is it for them, or for the ego inside you?
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