Recently while driving a bus, I was struck at how insignificant I am. Choices in my life (or avoidance of choices) have led me to where I am. If I were not to show up for my bus-driving shift it would not matter at all, I would not even be missed. I even believe that if no one replaced me, these young adults would easily find their way to campus and back without a bus at all.
Feeling so insignificant in this job, I began to think of my primary job in a local school district working with adult special needs students in work like environments (my focus is Autism) and sadly I realized the same held true there as well. Many of my students are not suitable for a job (more complicated, severe, profound, or unmotivated) and so the program is ineffectual and meaningless. If I were not present at this job, even if no one else replaced me, there would be no significant change for these students…or the world.
At my age, many men (and women) search for or hope for their life’s work to have some meaning. I have written some in this blog about life purpose and meaning stating that common people are needed to set contrast against great people.
Feeling insignificant has spilled over in to all areas of my life from time to time. I cannot think of a single person for whom I am a top priority, including myself.
I suppose I could console myself with the fact that most of us lead insignificant lives (or at least have insignificant days). Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and Hitler come to mind first when thinking of people who have made lasting change in this world. Going to work, paying bills, eating healthy, working out, writing a blog, and cleaning house have no lasting effect on this world, no meaning. Yet many of us fill our days and our lives with such drivel. I do.
Procreating has a lasting effect, the child a person produces can have a profound effect on the world (positive or negative…I’m thinking over population). While I have raised children, (many fostered and one step son) I have chosen to have none of my own. I read a meme recently that said, “If you do not reproduce you will be the first organism in your direct line from the beginning of time to do so.” Well at least I am first at something.
I am so common that I will likely die of America’s most common killers heart disease and/or cancer both prevalent in my immediate family. Sadly the only thing a person has to do once they are born is die, everything else is a choice. Looking back it appears I chose poorly.