I don’t think there’s anything magical about the changing of the years. Dates after all, are what we use to mark the passage time. Sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it’s merely depressing. With every day that goes by, I’m reminded that I have not yet “arrived,” by which I mean some kind of recognition that my life counted for something. But maybe we never “arrive” till the day we die. Maybe we never “arrive” until our work here is finished.
Hallmark thought, I know. And it doesn’t really help us figure out what our work is. I have an idea about that: I think our work is everything that we do in this life. Is it right to label just one thing as our “work” and then assume that as long as we do well in that one thing, we are successful? We’ve all heard of geniuses in their fields who were failures as spouses and parents and friends. No one expects us to be perfect in all that we do, but isn’t it just as important to do our best in all areas of our lives and not just in our “work”? I’m reminded of a minister who put off doing things with his children because he had to do “God’s work.” What did he think being a parent was if not also God’s work?
I happen to believe in God; it’s a fact about me that can’t be changed. But not everyone sees life in the terms I outlined above. So what? Don’t we all seek some kind of recognition that we existed and that we mattered? This is mainly an existential matter, not a religious one. I don’t know how many writers hope that their writing will leave behind some kind of evidence that they once existed, but I would guess that it’s most of us, if we’re honest. One reason I write this blog is to offer some kind of proof that I exist. Not a very permanent proof, I agree, given the nature of the Internet. But it’s a start.