CREDOS: Live to the lees — II

This crazy thought persisted even after I nearly died on a mountaintop in Chile three years ago. When I woke up after an emergency operation, I was so glad to be alive that I was euphoric. My euphoria lasted long enough for me to write a book about it. I no longer feared death the way I had when I was younger. Instead, I wanted to make the most out of whatever time I had left. But my fixation on the number 106 lingered like a hangover from the days when I was afraid of death.

Now, though, I had a new worry. Would I live all those years without having lived them in the best possible way? I knew that the end would eventually come. I became obsessed with this thought, and that brought on a second book. This time, I tried to figure out if I could have that feeling of satisfaction in a lasting way.

By now, I had lived through most of the things that are supposed to give our lives meaning: love, art, family, money, fame, political activism, faith, skepticism, curiosity, mindless play, even pure motion — just keeping busy. And the list goes on. I wondered if any of these things had given me a sense of meaning that was lasting. All of them have, for a time; but no single one of them has been the solid peg to hang my hope for meaning on. It keeps eluding me. I remember nightlong youthful conversations, trying to figure out an answer to the question: what are we here for? Now I see what a tricky question it is. It assumes there’s an

answer. —