a place where a boat or ship is moored.
“the boat had been at its usual moorings immediately prior to the storm”
the ropes, chains, or anchors by or to which a boat, ship, or buoy is moored.
“the great ship slipped its moorings and slid out into the Atlantic”
I am discovering that my connection to many things is far more tenuous than I might have imagined in spite of having spent years cultivating what I thought were proper, strong and productive alliances. I am increasingly drawn to the conclusion that old age, even without the added disengagement of retirement or downsizing, is calculated to set one adrift. There appears to be an irrevocable philosophical trajectory destined to dissolve all sinews with the past and to set one upon a sea of comparative uncertainty. As in all matters, it is in evitable that there is a reason for this eventuality and the deterioration requires but little analysis to produce an explanation. What however persists as the more vexing corollary is the apparent absence of standards or markers to which one may alternatively secure oneself. The former measure of one’s position or status in society is strangely susceptible to disruption, strange because there was perhaps an innocent presumption that the foundation was far more substantive than it turns out to be. The transition from rock to dust in any exploit is naturally unsettling. The unease which one experiences in the admission of this stark reality is complicated by the fact that the alteration trivializes the former postilions and demands a stronger fabric. In short, the old mainstays no longer pass muster. Like the moorings themselves, the things to which we once anchored our being are at best temporary. The resulting disarray is further confounded by the uncomfortable question about whether it even matters at all. If one is convinced that everything in life is relative, then of course one’s connection to one marker or another is critical. If on the other hand one is inclined to adopt a more independent view of life, then our connection with anything is driven more by internal than relative merit. This of course neatly places the burden of meaning in life upon one’s own shoulders and effectively diminishes the importance of associations with anything else. Abandoning one’s former moorings is thus not without its disconsolate feature.
And speaking of disconsolate features, I am reminded that the depth of meaning in life is discoverable in the most insignificant circumstance. A couple of days ago in idle chatter with a restaurant server, it became evident that she like so many others is profoundly disturbed by recent worldwide events, some of which are admittedly too horrific to bear repeating and which threaten to become immobilizing. When I later reflected upon this situation, I decided that this obstruction could not be allowed to stand in the way of the enjoyment of life. If we permit ourselves to be defeated by the interminable disasters of life, then we too are doomed. The object of living therefore becomes solely that of being dedicated to the enjoyment of life, not because any one standard of conduct is intrinsically worthwhile, but because the achievement of that pleasure is all that counts. Viewed in this liberating context, the strength of any particular mooring is at best redundant. We are suddenly faced with the glaring and equalizing truth that what matters is the end not the means. This of course reinforces what we know to be our personal sources of satisfaction in life, and by extension this acknowledgment removes the necessity to attach oneself to external indicia of stability.
Accepting one’s own trivial comforts in life requires both pluck and discernment. It is no small talent to live within the compass of one’s aptitude and inclination. It demands both conviction and confession. For one thing our standards may not be as high as we might have preferred to imagine, not only because they are so easily swept away, but also because there is so little of substance to replace them.
Instead of searching for the bollards of strength we may be obliged to settle for the dismal blandness of our being (though the discovery may nonetheless be quite relieving).