We moved to Dublin at the start of 2001. At that time there were very few foreigners in the country. However, all the people we met there were extremely friendly and we got integrated into the society very quickly. We left the country in 2004.
Some of the friendships formed then still endure 15 year later. Two of them visited us in Canada in separate occasions. Apart from that, Skype and Whatsapp helped stay engaged over the years. While we continued on our path in life, we kept track of each other.
Once you cross a certain age, not a year passes by without hearing any adverse news. Couple of years ago one of my friends informed me that he had to send his wife to assisted living as she developed dementia and it progressed rapidly. Talking over the long distance line, we shared the weight of the terrible news. We speak every fortnight to keep in touch and help go through the situation.
Today another friend informed me that his wife has months to live. She had been battling cancer for a few years now. In Dublin, we used to socialize frequently. We used to visit them in the country side and there would be a special vegetarian meal prepared for us. Their dog, a smart Collie would engage with us from time to time showing off his tricks. My wife inherited her famous Christmas pudding recipe. We still have the mittens she knit for my wife.
We all go about our life in our own way. Many are distracted by the shiny objects on the way. It could be an all consuming career or addiction. For some it is just making it to the next day. Perhaps the next meal or where to sleep for the night. For some others that have everything, the sheer boredom and lack of challenge leads to crazy antics. We see this more often among young entertainment stars.
Just like the kid with a dollar in a chocolate store, most of us are doomed to spend the dollar and regret not having chosen a different candy. It is really hard to decide on what is important for our life. Is it family and friends? Is it money? Is it life experiences? Is it hedonistic pleasure? Is it the desire to see the world and travel distant places?
The first 15 to 20 years are in school, then there is the working life, getting married, raising children, caring for the parents. Then the remaining years are spent taking care of health of self and spouse. People lost track at various stages and embark into the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, travel etc. I suspect there are very few who are self aware and stay on track of what they think their true purpose in life is.
People live and die in places as remote as the jungles of Africa or Amazon or in the heart of the metropolis. Who is happier ? If we assume that the world is a simulation, who is the winning player? The one with the most technology and money or the one with the most life experiences or the one who spent their life helping others?
Unfortunately these thoughts come only when we receive terrible news. I would like to hear your perspective.