I probably have quite a bit of time left in my life. Forty, maybe 50 years in front of me. There are always these things that I think about that seem like time has gone by fast, or slow, and in the last year, both. But as Mr. Keating reminds the boys in Dead Poets Society, we're all "food for worms," and for that reason, he encourages the kids to make the most out of the time they have. That's a weighty subject when you're a teenager, one you largely disregard, and honestly, I didn't even think much about it in my 30's, a time of particular crisis and identity for me.
Even at a young age, sometimes we do think deeply about what it is we're going to do. As in, with our lives, with our time. In that discussion that we have with ourselves, the consideration of time, and the rather temporary condition that is life, we consider the meaning of it all. There are two ways that you can go: The brevity of life can make you ask if there's any real point to any of it, but it could also incentivize you to make the most of what you have. A humble person can acknowledge that no one is going to care who they were beyond a generation, or two at best, but it doesn't mean that you can't leave the world better than you found it. I would also factor in that whatever animal instincts we have left drive us to contribute to society as a survival tactic, and for the survival of our children.
Let's be honest, there's a lot of struggle in life. Even when you have advantages, whether it be money or some other socioeconomic condition that you were born into, the challenges combined with the ephemeral nature of life make you wonder why you should fight the struggle. Hope and optimism don't come easy to everyone, but those are the things we rely on to keep moving. I think it's a good idea to help others find it, too.
Like most people, I have certain gifts and abilities. I don't know where they came from, or why I have them when others don't. I can't write a song (or sing one), or inspire anyone with athletic achievements, but I'm pretty good at other things that have a measurable impact on the world. I'm pretty good at helping others find those attributes, too. The scope of impact as it relates to my abilities is unimportant, and chances are that most people have impact, and it's just a question of whether or not it's positive.
I think that there are some basics to strive for when it comes to our time left. The blanket goal I'm after is to leave the world in a better state than I found it. This means reversing hundreds of years of structural discrimination against minorities, women and other marginalized people. I want to do my best to have a light touch on resources I consume, and show others what is possible with sustainable energy, waste reduction and the exploitation of science. I hope to show people that autism isn't a disability, but a different perspective.
What will you do with your time?