Those familiar with the child’s movie, “The Lion King”, understand the concept of ‘the circle of life’.  While the movie it is depicted in a much simpler fashion, for humans it is, in principal and while containing many more elements, it is, basically the same process.  When born it is the duty, or at least is so in the view of most, of the parents to raise the infant, to guide that ‘little’ person toward something, to guide the ‘little person’ toward building a life.  The effort is constant, it involves learning the rules of life, societal norms and the gaining of some level of an education.  Over time it brings finding a means of sustenance, of being a provider and ultimately finding a mate with whom this person will share a life, and, in many cases, give rise to a new life.  In the end, it is about phases, about building a life, about the construction process involving each of us in our own little way.

I doubt that as an infants, as a fetuses in the womb, we ever really think about building, about constructing a life.  I suppose innately we are driven to survive and as such find those things necessary to achieve that goal.  We first seek those items lowest on Maslov’s Pyramid, the basics and from there we learn the means to move up the rungs, to gain more, to build our pyramid such that it serves to provide the greatest happiness, which in some cases, translated into material wealth.  Over time we reach our level and, by most accounts, may seem to stop building, no longer feeling the need to manage the construction company that was ours, that which built our pyramid and caused our arrival to its top.

As we find our place, that level of our pyramid where we either choose, or by circumstance, forced, to stop construction we seem to level off, we seem to seek solace in where we’ve arrived.  I think this is a place where we, where most find themselves and often cement their identity, that which they associate themselves on the basis of values, of that morality we call our guiding compass.  I, particularly, find this an interesting place, a place where many seem to become more aware of their mortality and even more so, their religious beliefs.  For me, I arrived here in a tempest, in a storm of divorce and then of cancer.  It would seem that for me, I never really felt the opportunity to continue building, but rather more a mission of preserving that already constructed as a means to both launch my son into life, to provide him with the basis to enhance his own construction, to build all that he will call a life and to establish my direction, my level, my place to find my solace.  For most, arriving at this place is a time of comfort and one with some duration, some time to both reflect and to look forward for many years.  For me, with my cancer, with all that it brings, I found myself arriving prematurely, my construction halted and now, with the latest events, thrust to a new phase, to that of deconstruction, the dismantling of a life built into its components.

When thinking of deconstruction I’ve come to see many elements, many different parts of the building, all relevant, all harboring a different degree of importance.  Part of the process is very mechanical, simple and practical things such as what to do with my body once dead.  Others being more lofty, things like how to configure and to whom I entrust the administration of my son’s trust fund. All carry a certain weight and all come to me at a time when my peers, those of similar age are seeing their children off to college, others seeing them married and some welcoming the arrival of grandchildren.  In some ways I sometimes wonder of the feeling of being a grandparent, of seeing one’s genetics expressed in another generation, of seeing how my son handles the responsibilities of parenting, of how he interprets the lessons I taught, how he passes on those values I imparted.  For most, these are all things expected, all part of being in that place of their life where they finished all of their construction.  Instead for me, it is about deconstruction, about the disassembling of my pyramid and finding the rightful places for all its parts.   For me, when observing others live in that they’ve constructed, I wonder if they ever think about deconstruction, about the dismantling of their lives, about their end.  I also wonder if there is, buried deep within some archive, some place unknown to the masses, an instruction booklet on how to deconstruct a life, how to bring it to its end.

Happy reading, happy thoughts and happy trails.

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