Waiting for the Third Act
For most of my life, I've been waiting for a magical moment -- a moment of absolute lucidity in which I would suddenly know who I am, why I am here and what I'm meant to do in this life. I have never stopped believing in the eventual arrival of this elusive epiphany, although the cynic that live within me tells me that this hoped-for moment is precisely that: a hopeful delusion, a childhood fantasy born of a life spent reading fairy tales, studying religion and watching far too many Hollywood movies.
Hope, in itself, is not so bad. In the middle of a particularly bad depression, it is pretty much essential. Like Pandora's box, depression contains all the evils of the world and stuck in a corner, almost out of sight, always last to be seen, there is hope. Hope is important.
Nevertheless, there is something ridiculous and somewhat pathetic about hoping for a deus ex machina to come lift me out of my hum drum existence, dust me off and present me with a new and improved version of myself.
But most of the stories I have read and loved, many of the films I watch again and again, tell me that this moment will arrive. Any street could be a Damascan Road, any forest could contain my Bodhi Tree. And then I will see the world for what it is and will truly know myself...
You see? It is so easy to get carried away. It is so easy to sit and wait for the universe to resolve my life in a mythical third act. As if my life -- and here is the problem -- were a story, a book or a film. Something that I can experience, but can't actively participate in. Something I can interpret, but haven't created myself.
And there's this: Though waiting for a potentially non-existent enlightenment is by its very nature a hopeful act, it is also an act of despair. We all hope for a better world (well, many of us do). There are those that are trying to create that world. There are also those who are waiting -- and for the most part angry -- for someone else to create that world for them. I'm afraid that much of the time, I fall into the latter category: waiting for a better world and despairing that no one is doing anything to create it, waiting to for answers instead of seeking them out. Angry, desperate and powerless.
I don't want to spend my life as a lone Vladimir or Estragon, waiting for certainty and understanding to drop into my lap. I will not be a tragicomic figure looking forever into the middle distance, hopeful yet distraught.