Great piece, thanks for sharing your musings. I also have a degree in suffering, and grapple with how to make lemonade out of it all and move on.
But about that pain...
I wonder, is it self-chosen?
On some level, do my choices and circumstances reflect my desire to live dangerously, to seize highs and lows? I don't know....But if the pain is a choice, then I'm awfully cruel to me.
The Buddhist outlook is a tempting, and comforting perspective, but I find it ethically problematic - particularly karma or any iteration of "everything happens for a reason."
My consolation is in chaos and accepting it as an inherent feature of living. It helps me let go of needing to assign a 'why' to everything. Chaos feeds my equanimity...but I would never pretend to have anything 'figured out.' My undergrad in philosophy served to mostly reveal how little I know.
Thank you though...reading this one made me feel brave.