Wednesday, August 25, 2004


There is an article today in the New York Times regarding genetically altered bovines referred to as Belgian Blue - they have blocked the myostatin in the cows, a chemical that limits muscle growth. These cows are without fat and look like they spend long hours working out in the gym. As the writer of this article points out, it is not long before we start using this in humans, especially athletes, to improve performance and limit frailty in old age. While I suppose improvements in human beings is a positive thing, it seems as if we are never satisfied. Here is yet another drug trying to hit the market that is aimed at improving the human condition. Who knows? With this gene therapy, we could alter human being as we know them. I suppose this hits a sore spot with me because lately I find myself being asked the question of "What do you want in life?" People expect to hear a nice house, extravagant vacations, a new car, a shopping spree, etc. Those are the usual answers. Given that I am in non-traditional classes at school, many of us are focused on the next step after graduation, whether it be onto more education or going onto a better job. I hear a lot of things about better income, more clout, a better job. And I am not saying any of these are bad things. Lord knows, I strive at improving myself daily - otherwise, why would I be in school? What bothers me, I guess, and what reached me in this article about these over-muscled cows, is that we are never satisfied with what we have. When we are gone, who cares what we drove or how big our house is? What does matter in life? I was recently asked, "What one thing could you do right now that would improve your quality of life?" My answer: absolutely nothing. I have a wonderful life. Is money tight and do I wonder if I'll make the bills next month? Hell, yes. Do I work 7 days a week, rarely get enough sleep, and often have to check the date and time to see where I am in a week? Yep. Am I tired of doing all this? Sure I am. But my quality of life is fantastic. I have friends who are priceless, mentors who have made all the difference in who I am, a family who takes me in on holidays when my own is long gone. My dog is my muse, my blog is my release, and my jobs give me a sense of accomplishment, even if they aren't impressive and don't pay well. The most important thing to me is those around me. They keep me sane, listen when I need to vent, and make me laugh when I'm down. I wish more of us would concentrate less on how to prolong life, get power, and do more, and concentrate more on making the world a better place. I know, it sounds so trite. But it is the truth. What dream do I want to accomplish at the end of my life? To have made someone's life better and hopefully, be remembered fondly in the minds of those I leave behind. In my mind, these are the things that matter. And I can't help but wonder that we wouldn't all be a bit more satisfied with our human condition if our goals in life were a little less self-centered - the old saying, "No man is an island," has never been more true....or seemingly, more ignored.