Another year has passed for me. One month ago I celebrated my 54th birthday. What have I done, lo, these past fifty-three years? What have I accomplished? I'll tell you what I have accomplished: Nothing. Or virtually nothing.
I don't really live, and never have. It's as if I simply move through time and space, and after fifty-two years I find myself (or have lost myself) in the selfsame void that I have always occupied.
To tell you the truth, I feel like the Henry James character, John Marcher: the man who was predestined to live an empty life, the man to whom nothing on earth was to have happened. You must know the Henry James story, The Beast in The Jungle.
"Everything fell together, confessed, explained, overwhelmed, leaving him most of all stupefied at the blindness he had cherished. The fate he had been marked for he had met with a vengeance -- he had emptied the cup to the lees; he had been the man of his time, THE man, to whom nothing on earth was to have happened. That was the rare stroke -- that was his visitation. So he saw it, as we say, in pale horror, while the pieces fitted and fitted. . . . It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion." John Marcher waited a lifetime for a final judgment that when rendered resolved Nothing -- the nothingness that was his life.
All my life I have waited for something to happen. Perhaps something momentous. Perhaps not. But at least something. Yet I awaken each day to a life in which nothing has ever happened and probably never will.
Dear friends, that miserable patch of event, that melange of nothing, while you were looking ahead for something to happen, that was it! That was life! You lived it!