The vast majority of us will never be president. We’ll never be movie stars. We’ll never run Fortune 500 companies, or invent technological advances so profound that they shape human achievement for decades to come.
The vast majority will not become published authors, or produced playwrights. Our canvases or art installations will not be shown in national galleries or private collections. Our musical compositions will not be performed by symphonic orchestras, or sung by operatic professionals.
The truth is, these heights to which we all, at some level, aspire to will be far beyond our reach. However, at one point we’ll look back and see the most important moment in our life. And though it may not hold the immense gravitas of moments in the public arena viewed by millions, it will have been a defining moment in our lives. One that we’ll (hopefully) look back on proudly.
What is that most important moment? Has it happened yet? You already have one, though something more important may come along. Are you proud of that moment? Or would you rather something else takes its place?
We are the heroes of our own stories. Make damn sure the climax is rewarding.
We spend our lives mired in the weeds of mediocrity. The big problems are hidden from us now as television, work, and society vies for our attention. We’ve consigned the larger questions to arenas of academia. Why should we progress any further, we ask ourselves? We have everything. Don’t we?
Sure, we have TV dinners and auto start coffee makers. We have fifty-hour work weeks, commutes and audio books so that we can ignore our commutes; roadside billboard so that we can ignore our commutes; blasting radio stations in Bose car audio systems so that we can ignore our commutes.
We drive by the poor, the homeless, and the disenfranchised, then drive into fast food drive-through lanes. We live in our own bubbles of invisibility. If we look up, we may see Wonder Woman going by in her invisible airplane.
Why not stop being invisible? What’s the cost of saying hello to your neighbor? And why stop there? If you’ve gone that far, why not have a conversation? Did you know that your neighbor has a passion, a hobby? My neighbor hands washes his fifteen-year old VW every week because he loves it enough to keep it in pristine condition. You probably have something you love like that. A hobby, or a passion.
I’m a proponent of the conversation. Of going to farmer’s markets rather than Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s business model is one of invisibility. (I’ll have to explore that thought in a later post). Finding the small ways that life can be joyful.
I’ll leave you with this thought, from Leo Brouwer. “To be useful is something incredible, because you’re at the service of the world.”