I was going to write a post about what Absurdism is. I started, got 4 or 5 paragraphs in, and realized that an academic recounting of this popular philosophical school of thought is pretty fucking dry.
Instead, let's causally talk about what the meaning of absurdism. Not in the "Why you trying to fit that square block in a round hole" kind of absurd, but in a loose sense.
Our Earth is populated by over 7 billion people and the vast majority of our parents taught us that we're unique. Every one of us has an individual mission on this planet during our short lives. But life doesn't really work that way, not when there's this many of us. Some of us are just going to clean pools for the rest of our lives. And hey, if cleaning pools brings you happiness in life, then props to you brother.
But let's say it doesn't? Maybe you want something more for your life but there are external factors stopping you from achieving the career that you want. Well that's okay, there are a ton of other ways to find purpose in life: You're good at the trambone? Rock on. You found religion? Dope. You're a travel-junkie? Explore this big blue planet.
These are all great things to do with your time and they'll definitely improve your quality of life. But do they give purpose to your life in an impactful permanent way that will live on for ages? Will your children's children talk about how grand-dad was a badass on the trambone? Maybe. Who knows. On the other hand, in the trillions of years ahead, when the last star dies.... it's doubtful anyone will be replaying that youtube video of the ridiculous solo you laid out at the Rex in 2013.
This is looking pretty bleak right? If we're all going to die one day, the universe will eventually end and everything we do will extinguish like a candle in the wind (I know, i rolled my eyes while I wrote that too but I'm keeping it in there) what's the point?
Well that's where Optimistic Absurdism pops up. A few years back I was talking to a friend who's an Atheist. I was born and raised as a good little Christian boy. She proposed something similiar to what's typed above. My response: "You're really killin the vibe in this car right now".
She countered: "It's kind of beautiful when you think about it. Once you realise that this world, politics, that sneer you got from the barista this morning, none of that matters... it's liberating. There is no reason to let negative things hold you back. In 10,000 years, will people be talking about that barista? No. Sure, it's kind of scary to confront the fact that the world doesn't have a predetermined fate for you. The inspirational relaization is that YOU alone can define how to give your own life meaning".
So sure.. our time on this Earth is finite. We'll be lucky if people talk about us in 100 years, legends if they talk about us in 1,000. Truth is, since humanity is just a drop in the ocean that is near-infinite time, you may as well live every day to the fullest. Travel, learn an instrument, befriend a stranger. In the end, you're the only person that's in the way of finding your own happiness. All that matters is living the life you want to build for yourself.