Tel Aviv, Israel
Yesterday, while sitting at a quiet coffee shop nestled between two busy Tel Aviv avenues, I continued to read Paul Kalanithi’s, When Breath Becomes Air. It is an absolutely compelling memoir by a young neurosurgeon facing terminal cancer who attempts to answer the question: What makes life worth living?
His prose are poetic and his talents with the pen are as remarkable as his gifts with the scalpel were. He was the same age as I am now when he was struggling with these weighty questions, while courageously accepting what was. He continued even to his last breath to strive towards what could be.
I couldn't put the book down as I considered my own mortality, thankfully in less rapidity. His questions inspired my own as I delved deeper into the meaning of this trip, what I hoped to find, and how I planned to move forward when I returned to the States.
I thought about how living an exceptional life does not mean it is devoid of doubt, suffering, or deviation. When I consider my life’s work, which is to say, what contributes any semblance of meaning, I find in many ways I am very much speeding up the right path. I have very few regrets, have always, as far as I could, lived life on my own terms, and suppose all the literature and experiences I’ve gathered to this point have instilled the spirit of taking bold action.
How many coffee shops on this planet can I frequent, writing and reading in a frenzy, or avenues can I saunter through, people can I meet before reaching the truth that it’s all the same? And different.
From Tel Aviv to Beijing, the intonation of language may steadily grow more guttural, the eyes more oval, but the human condition is one country, one world.
The answers remain immaterial, the questions are the real game in town, and they continue to evade, the only difference the time zone, or side of the road.
What then is the answer? To lean into the ambiguity? Great! What does it even mean? Or require? Again, the questions, the questions, the questions...No answers here. They really are beside the point.
I came across a passage that seemed eerily relevant to my journey thus far:
Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete. And truth comes from somewhere above all of them…