What’s the point of life? No, seriously. What’s the end goal? Because, in my twenty-one years of existence, I have yet to come to many reasonable conclusions. Now would be the appropriate time to disclose that I am not religious, although quite frankly, I wish I was. I’ve made a valiant effort to believe in a God, go to church, pray before dinner. But due to the unfavorable nature of my existence, I have never be able to really accept the answers that religion has to offer. So I won’t discuss religion from this point on: this is purely an existential debacle I’m trying to smooth out here.


Apparently, this is a viable option to said toothpaste dilemma.

Let me tell you what life is like. You wake up at a time that feels unpleasing to your circadian rhythm. Because this is not your natural sleep cycle, you must check for minuscule events that might have happened on Facebook or Huffington Post while you were asleep, which is really just an effort to wake yourself up with the bright screen of your phone. Groggy and tired, you walk into the bathroom, and go pee (admittedly, one of the only enjoyable events of the morning), and then you set out to make yourself look mildly presentable. You grab the toothpaste, and spend at least 90 seconds trying to get the fresh, less crusty toothpaste past the hardened barricade at the opening of the tube. Annoying! You try to get that glob of stale toothpaste off and into the trashcan, but you use toilet paper, because it’s so gross to touch that sh*t. Well, the toilet paper is clearly not made for this kind of work, so now you have stale toothpaste AND little pieces of toilet paper at the end of you toothpaste bottle. Forget that, let’s go on to something else. Breakfast: the battle of willpower and masochism. Your options are slim. Do you cook something that’s only mildly enjoyable, like an egg and cheese english muffin, or sit in self-hatred as you eat something that’s quick, yet filled with poison like a toaster strudel? You can’t even enjoy those poison-laced pastries, because you can feel them rotting you from the inside out.

After the horrid time you’ve invested in getting yourself ready to face another monotonous day, you start to assure yourself by saying, “Hey, maybe today won’t be so bad. I can make the best of it, right?” Wrong. You can’t. No matter how hard you try, because the entire universe has conspired against you, waiting for that one moment when you think you couldn’t possibly feel any more disenchanted with existence to unleash one more mundane, irritating experience for you to sit through and take. Another errand to run, another gas tank gone and empty, another load of laundry to wash.

Every. Single. Day. 

It doesn’t end. No, it continues until, well I guess until it stops.1 Yes, this sounds awfully grim but it’s the truth. You might ask, “What about all the fun in life, or the beautiful moments you share with your family, friends, or dog?” I’d respond to that by saying, the same thing, “What’s the point?” Cool, so I’ve had a good day. Now, I can totally accept every sh*tty thing about life, and reach a state of total enlightenment. Except, not. Because that never happens. Moments perpetually perpetuate into the next moment, and so on, but that still doesn’t explain the point of life. There’s never really an “end” goal, and although it may sometimes feel like there is (a big house, a new car, a diploma, a wedding, a trip to India), the reality is that there is never a moment where we, as humans, suddenly accept life for what it is, and maintain a state of total fulfillment until death. No, we’ll always need food, clothing, friendship, escape from boredom, a sense of accomplishment, sleep, etc. This will go on and on and on until humanity experiences permanent satisfaction or goes into extinction, and I feel exhausted even thinking about it.

will beg for food

Thank Furry Godmother for this one.

Now, this realization might make you wonder, “Why the f*ck do I keep doing this?” That, my friend, is a question for which I have no answer. Dogs don’t keep begging for food when they realize you havenothing in your hands, and people wouldn’t be so fanatical about basketball if they couldn’t watch the scoreboard accumulate points, so why do we keep chasing the imaginary carrot? I guess we do because it’s the only choice we have, and on occasion, our imaginations almost seem like the real thing.


1By ‘stops’ I mean death.

This work was inspired by: Chuck Klosterman, the song “I Want to Break Free” by Queen, and probably “High Fidelity”.

Essays, Prose, Writing

A Not-So-Zen Essay on Life


15 thoughts on “A Not-So-Zen Essay on Life

  1. Pingback: A Not-So-Zen Essay on Life | The Everyday Buckle of Isis

  2. Brennan says:

    “What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, ‘This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!’ Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, ‘Never have I heard anything more divine’?”

    Not sure if this is the exact quote because I’ve seen different versions of it, but it came to mind while reading this post.

  3. Brennan says:

    Nietzsche. One of the few philosophy references I can make. I used that quote during a presentation on eternal return in a physics class once, but I don’t think anybody understood what I was talking about.

  4. Brennan says:

    “If we affirm one moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all existence. For nothing is self-sufficient, neither in us ourselves nor in things; and if our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event – and in this single moment of affirmation all eternity was called good, redeemed, justified, and affirmed.”

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