Let’s Live Another Year!
“Today mom died. Or maybe yesterday. I do not know.”
The character, Meursault, begins Albert Camus’ famous work: “The Stranger” with this line. The novel hints at a lack of interest and meaning in life from the beginning to the end. A lack of meaning existed in most of the world in 1942, the year it was published, caused by the atrocities experienced during World War II. People had not found a satisfactory answer to the questions: Why live? Why fight?
However, today, many people could personify the same Meursault since they show this same lack of interest in life and “live” automatically and mechanically, dull, without illusions, and without goals to strive for. They live in a conformist way, leaving the achievement or destruction of their dreams in the hands of third parties. Refusing to embrace their freedom to live and the responsibility of it. Today the technology that makes life so much easier for us, and the internet and social networks that keep us more informed than ever and close to our loved ones no matter how far away they are; anxiety and depression eat away at the world’s peace of mind like never before. How desperately we seek to find on web servers or video pages if not the longed-for cure, at least some distraction that will lull us to sleep and give us a brief moment of peace.
Today, we have taken the wrong path. We want to look good, and like all the previous New Year’s Day, we enroll in a gym with the illusion that the machines within it will sculpt our bodies automatically and kindly. We hope that the love of our life arrives unexpectedly and that they playfully appear out of nowhere behind us while covering our eyes with their hands and whispering in our ears, “Yes, here I am, now you will be happy!” We want to learn a new language or new skill, but we trust that the 2-3 tutorials seen on the internet are enough to enrich our brain and satisfy its insatiable thirst for knowledge. We long for our relationship with our spouse, children, parents, or co-workers to improve, hoping that they will change and apologize for the “mistreatment” directed at our “innocent” and “noble person”. We cry out for a “good” job, believing that companies and human resources managers are looking for us like water in the desert, eager to hire us and give us the best payment for the least effort.
It is time to take ourselves seriously and understand that if we want to change our body, it is not the gym that will change us, but our discipline; that if we want to find “love”, we must love ourselves first; that internet tutorials will not achieve anything if there is no commitment and desire to learn on our part; that if we want to reconcile with our near and dear ones, we must be able to see our faults first and seek to correct them; in the same way if we want to find the job of our dreams, we must first be dream workers.
For this reason, in these moments when we celebrate the beginning of a new year, we must, before establishing our goals and desires, ask ourselves: How do we want to live this year 2023? Do we want to live like Meursault and be a foreigner, a tourist of our own life? Or will we be able to embrace our responsibility to live, and “live” intensely every minute of our lives?
I hope with all my heart, that you who are reading this little writing at this moment, can live 2023 as the also famous French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, popularized:
“Make your life a dream and your dream a reality.”