Getting Older (In Georgia?)

Clearly, 30 is the year in which I constantly introspect about my age. I recently became aware that the recession of my hairline can no longer be denied – I’ve known it was creeping slowly back since my mid-20’s, but whenever I asked anyone they assured me that it wasn’t, so I let it go. Now I look at pictures and, as I said, it’s undeniable – the hair above my temples is, ever so slowly, heading out like the tides.

So what? Happens to everyone, and I’ve had a better run with my hair than most – how many dudes have grown their hair to waist-length in their lives? Still, this does limit me, since I once swore I’d never be one of these balding guys with long hair, which means that my hairstyle options are slowly fading away. But whatever.

What really concerns me, I guess, is that I’m going to miss stuff. Up until now, most of my life has been spent learning about the past – learning math that was invented centuries ago, learning history, language, geography, science, all from outdated textbooks. Recently I have spent a lot of time reading about current events and current discoveries on the internet. But at some point, I have to realize that the things I am reading about – New York’s 2nd Avenue subway, scheduled for completion in 2020; Global Warming benchmarks set for 2050 or 2100; carbon nanotube materials and cognitive enhancement and the Singularity – all these things are scheduled for the future. People are planning for the future, and the older I get, the more likely it is that they are planning for a future in which I am no longer alive.

And what that means is that I will not be able to see how it ends.

I will probably never live to see the Polar Ice Caps melt. And while some might count that a blessing, I’d kind of like to know how it all turns out, whether we get it under control or not. I’ll probably never live to see the Singularity, which means I’ll probably die never knowing if it will happen or not.

Once, a friend told me that I would be the first generation to live forever. He was 32; I was 19; he told me that he would likely die before science figured out how to end aging and forestall all medical problems, but that I would likely benefit from this technology. He said that first my life expectancy would be extended in fits and starts – by 10 years here, 50 years there – and that by the time I got to be 150 or so (which to him seemed like a reasonable possibility) scientists would have solved aging and disease and stuff.

This is probably not true. I probably won’t live to see whether we’ll have another Ice Age or not. I almost certainly won’t live to see humans colonize other planets, if that ever happens at all.

So given that I have a limited time left on the planet – and that I am starting to come to terms with that fact, as the illusion of immortality that we all have in our 20s rapidly abandons me – I feel like decisions that I make now carry more weight. If I’m going to start a career, I ought to do it now. If I want to become a linguist, I should really get moving with the whole grad school thing. Lately I’ve been considering going into cognitive science. If I want to do that, I should do it soon. I definitely want to reproduce at some point in my life, but by 30 male fertility has already started to decline, which means that “some point” should at least be on the horizon.

And being in Georgia just adds additional complexity to this issue. I like being in Georgia for various reasons. I like working for TLG, I like blogging, I like my social circles, I like the lifestyle – but right now I am not making much money, which means I am not doing much for my future. I am not moving towards that Ph.D. or towards having a stable economic base on which to build a family or towards digitizing my thoughts so that my mind can live forever after my body dies and decays into dust.

At the end of this school year, I will be able to truthfully claim to have two years of teaching experience. Between that, my Tefl certificate, and my Bachelor’s, I have enough to work in almost any ESL position on earth, and make as much as $4000/month depending on where I choose to go. That’s small potatoes in the US but it’s huge in places like Georgia, and it would allow me to save money for grad school/kids/a house/a robotic body to house my digital mind.

On the other hand, doing that would mean leaving TLG, and potentially sacrificing a lot of happiness – I’m happy in Georgia; would I be happy in South Korea, or Saudi Arabia?

So I guess what I’m saying is, now I have a choice between the stability I’ve found in Georgia – friends, a good life, a rewarding career path – and the chance to make boatloads of money. In the past, the “more money” path has generally been so much less rewarding that I ended up preferring the “less money” path – which puts me right at home here in Georgia, where capitalism hasn’t taken a strong hold just yet.

Is there a way to compromise? Go to Korea for a year and come back with enough money to buy a nice flat in Saburtalo?

This has been another episode of “Deep Thoughts at Three A.M.”

*****************************************************************

None of my students were alive when this song came out:


(Video: Oasis, Live Forever)

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Deep Thoughts at 3AM and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Getting Older (In Georgia?)

  1. Russ says:

    Yes, got to South Korea or Saudi. Having worked in both countries prior to working in Georgia, I think it will not only top off your savings but also provide you with confirmation that you’re currently living in a wonderful country.

  2. Elene says:

    It’s very strange to read this post at 5 a.m. for several reasons. A) I’m only twenty years old and sadly I feel like someone just stripped me off my best years already, it’s been like a ticking clock in my ears, like everyday I’m getting closer to death, which may or may not be accepted, so I understand he whole aging thing you’re so concerned about. It’s quite depressing to realize you’re wasting your limited time on earth and the best thing you can do about it, is to mainly complain about it. B) I strongly believe in Singularity (me and only 3 other people I know), but I’m not sure if I am young enough to make it before it will happen. sure, preserving my SELF in a jar with shit loads of chemicals is mindblowing, but sometimes I wonder if this limitedness is making life a bit more exciting, and giving it the sensation on walking on the edge, though the purpose is not distinctive. C) Recently I was crossing a highway late at night and a car almost hit me (which, I admit was my fault as I kind of drifted off), but I remembered that from my early childhood all I ever wanted was to be impulsive and instinctual therefore making it my short-term goal, never realizing afterwards that I have already achieved it, with not so many benefits except sleepless nights in unidentified houses, so now I’m sitting here wondering: what the fuck am I supposed to do now? do I make stability my priority and be pretty much like every human being on earth, or do I go on being spontaneous, yet unhappy.
    Point of the comment: don’t feel bad because you’re hair’s falling off, feel bad because most people die in vain :)))

    • pasumonok says:

      el,
      try compromising and doing both.
      u might achieve happiness for a while. then, it goes away, u look 4 it, but meanwhile u have some comfort around it, something that keeps u afloat.
      then, you experience another rush of happiness. it fades. u go back 2 ur basic supports in life. and so on…so ur whole life is chase after something, getting it, chasing something else…but if u don’t have some stable presence in ur life, surviving depressing episodes between highs is hard.
      i have 2 rules: 1. stop and be happy when u’re happy 2. look 2ward something, when u’re not happy
      many times @ supra drunk people ask me what i think is the goal of my life. and i really think those moments when i feel happy, are my goals.
      hold on, love.
      ur friend

  3. choppa481 says:

    Maybe it’s time to start doing dome freelance stuff on the side? You’re writing is good, perhaps it’s time to add a different blog, one that you can monetize. It seems like you have a nice life in Georgia, it’s just time to bring some entrepreneurship to your life. Perhaps it would be better if you were only working for TLG in the social media capacity, which would free up some time to do other things. You certainly have some leverage there as you are the main contributor to the blog and editor.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Korea averages 2,000 a month- Saudi 3,000 to 4,000 depending on the amount of years of teaching experience. The rest of the middle east usually wants a masters degree.

  5. pasumonok says:

    hey, happy getting old day!!!
    i;ve been thinking the same thoughts for a while now…u;re not the only person who has a birthday this week πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s