After 70+ years where do you derive your strength and consolation as you approach the abyss. The question is more immediate to me now, after a recent comment by my wife that approaching 75 I have 10 years of functional being if I am lucky. My approach to date has involved heavy physical exercise, reading widely in the political and financial world. Much of my past reading activity explored much of the available literature in eastern philosophy, the exploration of critical biblical scholarship to assure myself that the bible was as pure myth as I thought it was, and a final resort to the concept of "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die."
Unlike a number of respondents to this issue, I cannot bring myself to accept a more or less existentialist approach, that I can intentionally create an essence by the power of positive thought. I am reminded of the Gertrude Stein remark when describing Oakland - there's no there -- there. Based on my studies, I am convinced that the universe is a meaningless cacaphony of noise, violence, destruction. That nothing happens for a purpose outside of ourselves (and ,probably, not even there). That in some sense we are the product of an inevitable determinism which moves to a meaningless stasis(is it the 2nd law of thermodynamics writ large?).
Is hedonism the only answer? Is there any answer? Is there any question? Clinton was right "it depends on what is -is". Am I a bouncing ping-pong ball in a Colorado River cataract only moving through space at 5 million miles per hour or so. Do I live in but a virtual reality, experienced though energy impulses received by receptors, interpreted by my computer brain, and when the computer powers down, the screen goes blank? Are both the physical universe and the quantum physical world unavailable to me now -- and, forever?