Sunday, March 8, 2009

Meaning

For any readers I still have out there, I know of at least two, what gives your life meaning? In medical school, we had an old NY lady lecturing us on palliative care and death. In our first lecture she actually said, "We get meaning from having children. If you don't have kids, let me tell you, you'll be questioning your value." Okay....I may want to have kids, but if we don't believe we ourselves as people have value, why would other people, our kids, give us value? Because they depend on us? Are they our legacy? Do they simply satisfy a biological urge?

I spend most of my time studying and entertaining myself. Once in a while, I visit my sister and her children, but I try to focus more on my life now. I went to medical school because I want to be a doctor. I like meeting people and hearing about their lives and health problems. You'd think that this would motivate me to study more, and it does, and I do feel it's meaningful, but I still spend a lot of time thinking about television shows and other people, or looking for books to read or reading them. I really love the show Lost and feel that watching it is a good use of my time. The creation of characters and an ongoing plot can say a lot about our human experience. It gives us a way to reflect on our lives and world events, and it makes us feel connected to other people. I get a lot of satisfaction out of following a storyline on television or in novels. I'm sure the people who spend time creating these stories appreciate my appreciation of their efforts. But it doesn't result in much, from a productivity standpoint. Is it better to spend time creating something rather than enjoying other people's creations? Kind of pointless to make a TV show with no audience.

If I think about having kids, I think, "If I work and feed myself and have kids, I might not have time for TV or books." One time I read an article by a smug journalist with four kids writing about how wonderful it was to be busy, and how, sure, she didn't have time to read novels in the park, but who cares, since she has four kids! Isn't she terrific! But creating new people to give meaning to your life seems kind of pitiful...what makes those people think their kids have meaning? I think they just like having kids. The value of having biological children seems to be getting to see what your own genetic pool can create. Adopting kids seems meaningful, because those kids are already here. I am curious to have a baby for the experience and to see what comes out, but I don't know if that will give me more meaning, it seems more like it will give me responsibility and obligation. And you are only caring for what you produced. Is that productive?

Right now, I study, interact with patients, spend time with friends and family, watch TV and read. I wonder if I am benefiting other people enough with my life. How do you guys feel about how you spend your time? What gives your lives meaning?

1 comment:

Rachel said...

It seems like a cop out to think having kids gives one's life value.

Kind of like deciding to believe in an afterlife because you don't like the idea of being dead as a doornail.

Or somethun! who knows...