I am about to graduate high school and this question has naturally been on my mind. Who do I want to be in the world? What kind of ancestor do I want to be? What morals do I want to hold in my life and what sort of things do I let slip?
These kinds of questions shape who you are and how your progeny will view you. It is hard for me to answer these questions because I don’t know if it is better to live for myself or live for the world. This dilemma tears me apart; I believe everything is subjective and therefore there is no right or wrong way to live life, and this poses a serious problem. How am I supposed to know what to do when there is no right or wrong way to do something?
How am I supposed to know if I should live for my own comfort or for other inhabitants of the world’s comfort? It is a difficult question and it is hard to know all the variables to make an educated decision. Most of us are taught to be a certain way and live the rest of our lives living as our parents to taught us. But our parents don’t always teach us to look at the big picture and ask the big questions which answers shape us into who we will be in the world. What is our purpose on this planet? Is there anything after death? As I go off into the horizon I need to be constantly thinking of how I want to hold myself in the world, and sometimes I see myself fall towards the side of living relatively just for myself. What makes me happy, how will this benefit me? Sometimes I can’t help but think that we as species, as a planet don’t matter. There is an endless universe out there and we are not even a speck of dust on that scale. How can we matter? This is a depressing thought to have. Nothing I do has any meaning on the universal scale. This thought is also comforting. Nothing I do matters, anything mistake I make is forgiven, anyone I hurt, anything I do in the end doesn’t matter.
On a universal scale, I am not held accountable for anything and neither is anyone else. We are insignificant. This is not how I want to live in the world. I want to be significant and for me living for others is living for myself. I don’t want to be remembered for being self-centered. I hold being kind and giving as important morals in my life. It feels good to be kind and I have noticed that the kinder and more generous I am the more I get out of life. I also feel more significant when I spend time with more friend and family. Right as I think that anything I do is significant or of import suddenly everything matters. Not to quote The Police but suddenly “Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take” matters. Who is anyone to say we don’t matter? We must be here for a reason… right? If we are here for some purpose what is it? I think that this is the eternal questions. What is the meaning of life? What is our purpose? In this day and age with the oceans becoming so polluted and acidic that species are going extinct every day, where our air is getting so polluted that we are getting early onset heart disease, and lung cancer it is good to have morals that aline with conserving the environment. Living in this 21st-century culture it is hard to live “comfortably” and preserve our air, water, and life on earth in general. But if you are living just for our comfort why would the environment matter?
My generation will die before the world gets to messed up so why should I care? But I do care; it feels better to put the work in and take care of our home. I want my children to see the same wonders of the world I saw. I want them to be able to go to places where they are away from the constant humming of the city, where the can rest from all the pressure of our modern world. I want them to be able to swim in our oceans, hike our mountains, see our glaciers, canoe our rivers, experience this planet in somewhat of its natural state. I have always wished that I could see the earth before any Homosapien and every taken one step on this planet. I would love to walk for miles without seeing a sign of human life. This is why I would love for my kids to be able to see the world somewhere close to how I have experienced it.
In two-thousand nineteen it is hard for me to focus just on the problem of climate conservation in my own life when there are so many other catastrophes happening all over the world. I am lucky to live in the US where we have relatively clean air and systems put in place to recycle and dispose of waste. I have been in places that burning garbage is the norm and waste. I have seen families that their food fire was the same as the fire they burned their trash in. sometimes it is hard for me to sleep at night these are the conditions my friends are living in. This is the kind of ancestor I want to be. I want to give my progeny the chance to restore what we have lost. I want to be known for helping others to have the same opportunities I have had. I want to be known for helping this planet survive and making a safe place for my great grandkids.