The examined life

Since I've turned 28 I've been thinking about my life's accomplishments and getting somewhat worried. Before you even think about typing a cheery comment explaining how I'm "not old" hear me out (while we're talking about things that I'm not, I'd also like to state that marriage has made me fat, and I had to get a size of pants BIGGER than I normally buy the other day, and yeah, it IS marriage because once I tried on my wedding dress and it fit I had nothing to strive for, plus eating popcorn nightly with your new husband is a great way to bond). I don't think I'm old, and what's more, I don't think that age has to have much to do with one's accomplishments, but for whatever reason, being 28 has got me thinking about whether or not I'm working hard enough to achieve certain goals and perhaps more importantly, what those goals are.

Luckily, some higher power heard my self-centered mental ramblings and sent a sample CD of The Teaching Company's "Great Courses" in the mail. I took it with me on my commute this morning, and upon listening to the classical music introduction, realized that these were the very same lectures my brother and father have been raving about. "Cara, you should listen to these philosophical lectures! The speakers are amazing!" or: "Cara, I'm a nerd! I like to take college level classes in my car!"

But I was instantly hooked. The first lecture, an Oxford professor on four philosophical views of "the good life," brought to mind countless hours spent in ollege of Arts and Sciences classrooms at BU, slowly pounding out some kind of meaning in our texts - Hegel, Kant, Aristotle, of course.

The lecture touched on the many dimensions of a good life - an examined and satisfactory life - and in the end the professor came to a typical philosophical point: That there are many necessary components of such a life (you must live an active life, a selfless life, a contemplative life) and that these components may very from individual to individual.

Perhaps at 28 I can tie the youthful idealism I lost some of in the past few years (when I stopped thinking it was ok to discuss vague ideas like "moderation" at random, because, seriously, nobody wants to hear it unless you're all splayed in the grass outside the student union on the first day of spring) with my practical goals and come up with some kind of timeline like this:

28: A magnificent turning point, a true awakening. Work at newspaper. Learn new skills. Kick brother and father's ass at listening to philosophical lectures. Mostly, listen to mom, because who runs a successful company? Mom does.

29-40: Move on. Have thoughtful, curious, well-behaved children. Do great and amazing things. Work hard.

40: Open coffee shop in South Arundel County, MD.

Rest of life: We will see.