that, while you know death is The Only Absolute Certainty, you must live as if it will never happen, i.e. ignore those smug, irritating ‘Dear 30-year-old me’ private-pension ads on the radio, because, ditto, you can deny you’ll ever need a private pension. In fact, you have to deny it, because there isn’t, frankly, a spare cent to go in that direction — so bugger off, smug ads.
As you advance through the years, though the impending OAP poverty is a bummer, the retrospective perspective is fascinating: you might find yourself going, ‘Boo hoo, I see I could have made so much more of my vital younger
We’re all going to die. But so what? While death is life’s
only certainty, you must live as if it will never happen
years. Truly, youth was wasted on the young me.’ OR, you may decide to put a smile on it and think, ‘Thank God for all that experience, good or bad, and please give me the wisdom to learn from it, and live those lessons in whatever years You deem I have left.’
See, I put God in there? The idea of Him, Her, Them or It — whatever God is to us earthlings — can help engender some meaning in life, some find. I invoke Him because it’s part of the culture I was raised in, the idea of God having been of great (if delusional?) significance to our ancestors. But I, in tandem with many in these times, don’t believe in a beardy man in the clouds keeping a judgemental eye on all of His creation. Personally I couldn’t care less if there’s an afterlife; I want to embody a deeper personal morality than one which requires the threat of eternal damnation.
So I, like many now, whilst appreciating the human need for some sense of the spiritual, have no pat catechism to answer life’s big questions: Why am I here? What is the point of it all? What’s the right way to live? Are carbs evil and why am I paying a fortune for cable TV, when I come in late at night from a gig, flick through 142 channels, and the only thing I find vaguely interesting is a rerun of BBC Question Time?
And they’re talking about immigration controls and I’m thinking, ‘Thank Christ I do comedy for a living and just have to be professionally concerned about laughter — and not about delineating the legal rights of the desperately poor, in this desperately divided global village of which we’re all citizens.
In conclusion, here are some big answers that I (a clown!) have stumbled upon:
Do unto others as you would have done unto to yourself: all religious teaching can be simmered down to that single instruction that is found, one way or another, across faiths. Try to live and act in love, not fear. You don’t need cable. In general, an egg is better than dirty toast. Smile, laugh, give, and take it all with a pinch of salt, because remember, especially in your darkest hour: the longest length of time you could possibly exist is but a fraction of a grain of sand in the sandy beach of all eternity.
If that doesn’t work, you could try serotoninnorepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.