The unbearable lightness of being

I had read Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” back in my early 20s, and it quickly became one of my favorite novels.  It’s been years since I picked it up again.  What I had missed the first time was this idea that there are two ways to look at life – 1) if you will not be reincarnated, if this life is your only life, then it is so light it is like striking a match, or taking a deep breath, or seeing a rainbow.  The lightness comes from it all being entirely inconsequential.  Surely, you can live a happy life, but the idea that you can make any difference at all to the rotation of the Earth, the existence of your peers, to anything, is surely in doubt.  The second way 2) is to consider that this life is infinite, that what you start or fail at or accomplish or do is solid like a rock.  There is no escaping the heaviness of your existence.  Eventually you must figure it out.  Your individual actions might have meaning, but you exist.  You really exist.

To be a woman of childbearing age living the freedom of this life, on this island, is to feel like you only exist in the former – the lightness.  My life is whimsical and fun, I can do what I like when I like, but it really doesn’t matter all that much.

There are days like today when I can flicker between a desire for lightness and heaviness.  It is entirely confusing. I can go one hour wanted desperately to succeed in my career, and the next to be married with children.  Sigh.

Mr. Faraway and I are working out in whatever way we can.  I love him dearly, sometimes with lightness and sometimes with heaviness.  Yet he lives 5000 miles away.  And for us to be together, I would have to give up the beautiful breeze, the morning walks on the beach, and the general friendliness of everyone I meet (except for that jerk that stole my shoes on the beach).


About tidewater

thirty-something, mostly single, finding a path.
This entry was posted in Childless or childfree, Philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The unbearable lightness of being

  1. ellaflutter says:

    I feel you. I am only 26. But I thought I’d have kids by 24. I’m glad I didn’t but I am definitely at that stage of moving toward something serious yet like u, tangled with someone so far away and with complexities. It is tricky. And that book is really brilliant for capturing that place between lightness and heaviness isn’t it? I must say I didn’t quite fancy the ending but it definitely made me think.

mahalo for your comment!

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