Tuesday, July 4, 2023

What do you live for?

I was doing my gig job of driving people around Austin.  I picked up a passenger in a South Austin apartment just off of MOPAC Highway.  He was in his early 30s.  He asked me how old I was. I told him 66, but I don't feel that old.  

He said "My dad is 65, and has advanced Alzheimers.  How did you avoid it?"   Not a question I often get.  Nor one I'd ever thought I'd be expected to answer. Perhaps his dad no longer even remembers him?  He was clearly grieving up front on the visible loss of his father's memories and all that man ever meant to him. I know that emotion well, my family went through a similar up front grieving while my dad struggled with cancer for 2 years. 

I told him I have been careful most of my life about not cooking my food in aluminum pans. I avoid MSG and other excito-neuro toxins like aspartame.  I won't take statin drugs, as the brain is made of cholesterol and many people degrade fast upon a regimen of anti-cholesterol statin drugs. Know many friends who saw it happened to their parents on the advice of doctors.   I learned of a new one this week, di-acetyl, which is a flavoring chemical found in microwave "butter flavored" popcorn.  I don't eat much popcorn but I do have some of that in my pantry. It's been there for a year.  I was unaware it lodges in the brain and forms plaques.  Now I know.

He then asked "What do you live for?"   It was a strange question, the tone indicated many emotions, such as "why do you live cogently while my dad languishes?", underlined with a subtext of "how dare you!". I am in better shape than most my age. 

I asked him what he meant.  I wasn't sure where he was going with this. He said he was not sure he wants to live a long life given the state of the world. And he certainly couldn't imagine living to be and old fart like me at 66. Yet he wasn't suicidal. I have seen this in many Generation Z youth.  They grew up believing the world was going to die from Global Warming and they really sincerely believe it's true.  They believe this is logical science rather than a banker narrative for world control. Most often this kind of thinking takes the form of not becoming parents and having a dog instead and calling it their "fur baby".  It's also why birth rates are crashing. 

I told him I'd be quite okay living another 200 years.  He actually found that strange.  

"Why?  What makes you get up in the morning and look forward to another day?"  I told him "because I know it's going to get better very soon!"  The ride was close to ending but I gave him a thumbnail sketch of the work that has been done since 2013, and to my surprise he found it encouraging!   His issue was he saw no hope for change. Only more of the same or worse.   He patted me on the shoulder as he left the car which was encouraging.  

It's not that I haven't had similar thoughts, when I am lonely and longing for earlier times of camaraderie, transparency and a sense of a team.  For me it comes as "why did I survive the hospital in 2009" to experience this shit?  And it's hard because I remember how "HOME" feels, even though I was only there for a few minutes during my NDE in 2009. I don't dwell on it, because it's mostly self pity and that's such a useless emotion.  This time is also about me learning to transcend the programming of a life time and breaking those victim mentality patterns.   Gratitude is the best antidote to that. 

I don't know how long I have in this form.  I do know that I continue on even if it's time to drop this form.  But not just yet.   Gotta see how everything  plays out!  And for me that's enough to get out of bed each morning and face whatever comes.