Branching Out

My zucchini plant is gone. I ripped it out of the ground and have not been bothered by a zucchini since. While I was ripping out that plant, root and branch as they say, my Sansevieria decided that it could no longer be contained by its pot, and broke through the side and then sent up a shoot free from pot constraints. It is the plant version of the circle of life, without the blood and guts that are a part of the mammalian circle of life as depicted in “The Lion King.” One plant dies (or is murdered in the case of the zucchini plant) and another plant propogates (or escapes in the case of the Sansevieria shoot).

Plants are nice to us (except for prickly ones like pyracantha and poisonous ones like hemlock). Animals are cute and cuddly, except when they savagely kill one another to sustain their species. Human beings do not sustain their species by savagely killing one another. As I sit here, all of my preconceived ideas and prejudices are being shot (ha, no pun intended) down, and I’m not even watching the nightly news or reading social media.

I am in my shed, contemplating the meaning of life (something that I have ample time to do now that I’m retired and the zucchini plant is gone). I think that the meaning of life is simply to sustain the species. That’s a downer. I have to admit, that I was thinking it was all about ME. Darn this shed! When I’m driving down the street, yelling at other people who are also driving down the street, I think it’s all about me. It’s about me getting to where I need to be, when I need to be there. When I’m in line in the store, I think it’s all about me buying what I want to buy when I want to buy it. By golly, I’m a jerk.

Probably species sustainment is better accomplished by thinking of others, not just me. After all, I’m temporary. There are no two ways about it; I’m here now, but I won’t be here in the future. I don’t know how long into the future that will be, but the certainty of a Jennie-less future remains. So, to give meaning to MY life, I think I should be focusing my energy on those who will be here after I’m gone. I would like to get a whole niceness current going. If things went well, it could grow into a tsunami of niceness, and wash away not niceness. Basically, I feel like things that are not nice, like mass murders, do little to sustain the species, and being nice, like preventing mass murders, does a lot to sustain the species.

The other night, I watched a news story about a young man who has decided to help everyone who asks for his help. He’s given away most of his money, and a kidney, and he wants to keep giving away money and vital organs (I hope this doesn’t shorten his lifespan, because we really need nice people in order to sustain and uplift the species). He was asked if he had ever been swindled, or conned, and he said he didn’t care if he had. I like this. It manifests as a presumption of goodness. We could flip the practice of prejudice and instead of assuming all people in a specific demographic are jerks, because we met one person in that group who was a jerk, we could assume that all people in every group are good, until proven differently on a person-by-person basis. Better yet, we could just not judge people. I am a VERY judgmental person, so this would be VERY difficult for me.

Now that I’m retired, I need to branch out from my ol’ judgmental self, and do my part to sustain and uplift the species by being accepting and nice. I need to go beyond, just not killing people (please see previous post, “How I Keep From Killing People”), and quit judging people, too. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me in order to have a meaningful life in retirement; but it’s okay, because I’ve got the time.

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