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100 Years

May 16, 2010

I listened to Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff on tape a few years ago.  I took away some good pointers from the late Richard Carlson.  Others made me laugh—intentionally, I think—for their goofiness.

One from this latter list: “In a hundred years, all new people.”  Assigning humanity with a turnover rate tickled me.    Dr. Carlson’s point, clearly, was that all the tasks we consider so important here and now aren’t actually that important when we take a longer view.  His way of saying it stuck with me, even if it didn’t quite drive home the point.

It is true: people a hundred years from now won’t care about the minutia of what I accomplish during a given day.  Then of course, they also wouldn’t care if I were fired from my job, either.  If I lost my house, the future generation wouldn’t bat an eye.  They could stretch in collective yawns if I were to become an alcoholic.  They would skim by my meaningless statistic if I were sent to prison.

People yet unborn won’t care about many pressing current matters.  But the little details of my life—whether I get a proposal submitted by its Monday deadline for instance—are linked to a chain of potential consequences that will likely be as repugnant to future responsible-types as they are to me now.  That the heirs of the earth (hell, 99.99% of the current population) will never care about me and a handful of other of deadline-driven bidders is a dubious consolation.

I alluded to Richard Carlson’s passing.  He did not live a long life, leaving behind a wife and young children.  He encouraged people to enjoy life in the moment—not to pin their happiness on ever-changing and elusive goals.  The world needs more people who remind us of that.  It is indeed sad that the hundred-year turnover will come so soon for Dr. Carlson.

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One comment

  1. Although Dr. Carlson will not be here, and likely his wife or children, his subsequent blood line will probably care a little. Assuming he took care of them financially and wasn’t so short sighted, living in the moment, that he left them with nothing.



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