I remember in January 2012, I was moving from Boston to San Francisco. I was hanging out with Karen, and I was cleaning up my room. I said to her, “Most of my life is trash.”
I had a specific meaning in my mind, and a general meaning.
Most of the objects in my room were things I’d never need. I probably never needed them in the first place. A receipt from a delicious carnitas burrito. Business cards where I could have emailed the person when I got the card. Notes I scribbled on scrap paper, held long after I used the notes to make all the decisions I would make with them. Napkins I hadn’t used, and didn’t need to take with me across the country. Clothes I thought were fun, but I’d never put them on.
As I said that, I thought about bigger questions. In the hours and days and years I’ve spent doing things — has it really worked out for me? Did I get what I wanted? Was it a waste of time?
Six years later, I read Sum by David Eagleman. The book is about different possible afterlives, and it’s written by a neuroscientist named David Eagleman. My kind of people. A theme, subtly presented, is that in many of the hypothetical afterlives, we find ourselves wondering if we are spending our time wisely. I guess that means David Eagleman was wondering the same thing about his own life.
I don’t think most of my life is trash. But the thought crosses my mind sometimes.